In March and April of this year, 6,331 Dutch people who had been diagnosed with the coronavirus had died, the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) reports on Friday, based on preliminary figures about causes of death. In another 1,965 deaths, doctors indicated that they presumably died from the effects of the virus.
The figures are based on statements completed by a doctor upon death and sent to the municipality. In the case of corona, a distinction is made between confirmed COVID-19 deaths and suspected deaths.
The first group of patients had a positive test result. The second group of patients has not been tested, but the doctor has clinically diagnosed this. The doctor then checks whether the physical symptoms fit together infection. This happened, for example, in nursing homes, where testing was not conducted at the beginning of the corona crisis.
Coronavirus (or the suspicion of the virus) played a crucial role in death in both groups. For example, if an infected person dies in a road accident, the virus is not reported as a cause of death by the doctor.
To date, Statistics Netherlands has received 94.8 percent of this information for the month of April. Before March, the agency has already processed 97.6 percent.
Figures correspond to reported excess mortality
Since the start of the corona crisis, Statistics Netherlands has been monitoring excess mortality through calendar weeks. In the period from March 2 to April 26, an estimated 8,300 more people died than expected. However, these numbers had not yet given a cause of death. On the basis of these new figures, it therefore appears that this excess mortality can be attributed to the corona virus.
During this specific time period, according to the cause of death statistics, 5,995 people diagnosed with the virus and 1,891 people died, with the doctor reporting that it was presumably COVID-19. These numbers therefore differ slightly from the previously mentioned numbers for the full month of March and April.
The National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) registered fewer confirmed deaths than Statistics Netherlands currently does, based on GGD reports in the period from 2 March to 26 April, namely 4,890 compared to 5,995.
Two possible reasons are given for this. For example, based on clinical diagnostics, physicians may have completed COVID-19 for a confirmed cause of death, rather than a suspected cause of death. It is also possible that the deceased who were diagnosed with an infection on the basis of a test were not all reported to the GGD.