NL mortality rate below average for first time since coronavirus hit

Between May 11 and 17, an estimated 2,850 people died in the Netherlands. That is bout 200 below what would have been normal for the 20th week of this year, if there had been no coronavirus crisis, Statistics Netherlands reported. This is the first time that the weekly deaths in the Netherlands was below average since the pandemic reached the country.

If there had been no coronavirus pandemic, an estimated 3,046 people would have died in the 20th week of 2020, according to the stats office. This is based on the number of deaths in previous weeks, adjusted for seasonal factors. The number of deaths in the Netherlands usually decreases this time of year, as the weather warms. 

The first Covid-19 diagnosis in the Netherlands happened at end February. The government started taking measures against the spread of the virus in mid-March. In the first 10 weeks of 2020, up through March 8, an average of 3,134 people died per week. Mortality then spiked, peaking at 5,079 deaths in week 14. After that the number of weekly deaths started to fall again.

According to Statistics Netherlands, a period of higher mortality is often followed by a period of lower mortality, with below average deaths. But that does not mean that no one is dying from the coronavirus anymore. In week 20 a total of 159 Covid-19 related deaths were reported to the RIVM. The actual number may be higher, because not everyone is tested for Covid-19, the respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus.