European countries are currently experiencing an unusually high death rate, and coronavirus deaths are not the direct reason for this increase. Known as “excess mortality,” people are dying at an unusually high rate in the Netherlands, Germany, Spain, Portugal, and Great Britain.
Since April, the death rate has risen sharply in Europe by an average of 11 percent. What is puzzling experts is that these deaths are not directly related to the coronavirus pandemic.
In the Netherlands, according to de Volkskrant, one of the top newspaper in the country, hundreds of people more are dying every week than usual. This means that since the spring, approximately 5,000 more deaths are being recorded compared to the period before coronavirus. Scientists are puzzled by the reason, but Dutch health agencies refuse to release data behind the cause of deaths due to what the agencies say is related to privacy concerns.
Some have criticized this approach, with popular Dutch commentator Eva Vlaardingerbroek saying that matters of health privacy were universally suspended when the Dutch government decided to check everyone’s vaccination status before they began entering restaurants and shopping establishments.
However, excess deaths are even worse elsewhere, with Germany’s top-selling Die Welt newspaper reporting that the situation is especially drastic in Spain. In July 2022, Spain registered almost 10,000 more deaths than in the same month of 2019, while in Germany, the climbing death rate was not as dramatic but still a matter of concern.
To some extent, the rising death toll in Spain can be accounted for with coronavirus infections, but only 1,872 deaths were attributed to Covid-19, and another fifth were due to the extreme temperatures this summer, according to the statistics analyzed by the Carlos III Health Institute, which specializes in monitoring heat damage.
However, many of the deaths cannot be accounted for, a fact acknowledged by the Spanish government, which has ordered a detailed investigation with results expected in six months. Some experts say it is already clear the research should not focus on Covid-19 or the heat.
“Neither Covid nor heat waves explain what’s happening here,” said Salvador Peiró, head of research at the Fundación de Investigación Sanitaria y Biomédica de la Comunidad Valenciana.
Peiró says the rising death toll is “incomprehensible,” above all because he sees many old and chronically ill people among the deceased. Despite this group being highly vaccinated on average, they were still the most at-risk individuals to die from Covid-19.