Excess all-cause mortality and COVID-19-related mortality: a temporal analysis in 22 countries, from January until August 2020

Int J Epidemiol. 2022 Feb 18;51(1):35-53. doi: 10.1093/ije/dyab123.


Background: This study aimed to investigate overall and sex-specific excess all-cause mortality since the inception of the COVID-19 pandemic until August 2020 among 22 countries.

Methods: Countries reported weekly or monthly all-cause mortality from January 2015 until the end of June or August 2020. Weekly or monthly COVID-19 deaths were reported for 2020. Excess mortality for 2020 was calculated by comparing weekly or monthly 2020 mortality (observed deaths) against a baseline mortality obtained from 2015-2019 data for the same week or month using two methods: (i) difference in observed mortality rates between 2020 and the 2015-2019 average and (ii) difference between observed and expected 2020 deaths.

Results: Brazil, France, Italy, Spain, Sweden, the UK (England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland) and the USA demonstrated excess all-cause mortality, whereas Australia, Denmark and Georgia experienced a decrease in all-cause mortality. Israel, Ukraine and Ireland demonstrated sex-specific changes in all-cause mortality.

Conclusions: All-cause mortality up to August 2020 was higher than in previous years in some, but not all, participating countries. Geographical location and seasonality of each country, as well as the prompt application of high-stringency control measures, may explain the observed variability in mortality changes.

Keywords: COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; infection control; mortality; pandemic.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19*
  • Female
  • France
  • Humans
  • Italy
  • Male
  • Mortality
  • Pandemics
  • SARS-CoV-2