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Mortality in Poland: COVID-19 did not affect growth?

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A report of the Polish Economic Institute (PIE) indicates that COVID-19 most likely did not lead to an increase in the number of deaths in Poland, and thus possibly underestimated mortality during coronavirus era should not be high. The most realistic scenario indicates that the total number of deaths in the analysed period decreased by about 100-200 per week.

Methodology for testing the number of deaths associated with COVID-19

Mortality was analysed based on data on daily number of deaths from 1 January 2010 to 13 May 2020 generated from the PESEL register and from the Register of Civil Status. On their basis, PIE created eight estimates of the expected number of deaths in the period from 5 March to 13 May 2020. Depending on the methodology (scaled historical average, counterfactual analysis, lowest observed mortality rates) the estimates ranged from 74,491 to 87,259 deaths.

The report showed that taking into account the results of tests carried out for three out of eight estimates indicate that in the period from 5 March to 13 May 2020 the observed number of deaths in Poland was equal to the expected one. Four estimates indicate an under-reported mortality rate for COVID-19 and only one estimate indicates an abnormal mortality rate.

Mortality in Poland

Between 5 March and 13 May 2020, 80,324 deaths were recorded in Poland. It should be emphasised that the data include the total number of deaths during the analysed period in the country, mainly caused by diseases other than COVID-19 and accidents. At the same time, it is worth noting that the official number of deaths caused by SARS-CoV-2 in Poland reported by the Ministry of Health in the morning notice on 10 June amounts to 1,191 people (a total of 27,668 COVID-19 cases were reported).

PIE stressed that on the basis of historical trends, there are no grounds to conclude that the number of deaths in the examined period was higher than expected. Only the minimum option, assuming that the expected mortality during the lockdown period is close to that of the summer months, indicates that there is excessive mortality (at around 600 deaths per week). A more likely hypothesis, according to PIE, is a reduction in COVID-19 deaths of about 100-200 per week.

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