The statistic is not yet completely closed, but the data is impressive: With advantage, June 2020 is the month with the highest number of deaths in Chile, at least since 1965, date until which the historical records could be consulted.
According to the Civil Registry website, until this Wednesday, 15,924 people were registered as deceased during the month nationwide for any cause of death. That is to say, 60% more than last year for the same month, where the inscriptions reached 9,945, in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic.
In perspective, until May of this year the number of deaths nationwide for any month had never exceeded 11 thousand people, neither in the statistics of the Civil Registry nor in those of the Department of Statistics and Information of the Ministry of Health (DEIS). In fact, May had already set a record, with 11,270 deaths in 31 days: almost 364 deaths a day, a fairly high figure considering that the average until 2019 was around 290 deaths a day.
However, June deaths have a much higher daily average: almost 531 deaths a day. And with one more antecedent: it is very likely that the figure will continue to increase, given that for several days after the end of the month, inscriptions to the available web statistics are included. It was what happened in May: if the figures available as of June 1 – that is, just the day after the end of the month – indicated that the Metropolitan Region had had 4,873 deaths, the numbers updated today say that the final figure for that month It was 5,650, almost 800 more deaths.
It is precisely the Metropolitan Region that is leading the increase in deaths. It has 56.4% of the deaths nationwide, with 9,026 deaths.
The figure is not only more than double that of the same month last year (4,084, with a 121% increase), but also doubles the worst month before this year in the number of deaths in the capital: 4,373, in July from 2019.
In general, all the regions present increases compared to last year, but those that are immediately apparent, in addition to Santiago, are Antofagasta (88.5%) and Tarapacá (60.1%), both areas that had strong outbreaks in their main cities during the period. Too There are increases over 20% in Atacama, Los Ríos, Valparaíso, O’Higgins and Magallanes.
Although the 15,924 deaths – more than the total population of 147 communes in Chile – are the highest absolute number in history, the number must be put into perspective. Why? In general, it is preferred to use the comparison as mortality rate, which relates the number of deaths to the population of a territory at a specific time, allowing parallels between figures from very different times.
But even applying that criterion, the figure reveals its harshness. The mortality rate for Chile in June, with the data from the Civil Registry, reaches 818.4 inhabitants per million. An extremely high amount, because in the last 30 years only two months had slightly exceeded 600 inhabitants per million: July 2014 (608.3) and July 1995 (601.5).
To find a higher mortality rate, according to INE and Minsal statistics, one must go back 44 years. In May 1976, the death toll for that month was 10,016 people, but in a population that was almost half the current for the country: 10,565,409, according to INE estimates. Thus, in that month the mortality rate nationwide was 948 deaths per million inhabitants.
Both that year and 1977 presented high numbers of deaths, coinciding with outbreaks of different strains of influenza. And, in addition, the general health indicators at the national level were different, with a much higher prevalence of elements such as infant mortality.
And how many of the deaths will be attributed to Covid-19? With the DEIS information available until June 25, the 44% of deaths nationwide during the month they were considered confirmed or suspicious. If the trend continues in the remaining days, that will mean that more than seven thousand of the deaths will be considered the direct responsibility of the pandemic.
But to make this breakdown we will still have to wait a few days. In fact, it is most likely that a detailed update with causes of death prepared by the DEIS will be available this weekend, along with the epidemiological report, as has happened during the last 14 days.