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Mortality has gone over the top – Newspaper Kommersant No. 141 (6862) from 08/10/2020

According to Rosstat data, in the first half of the year, mortality in the Russian Federation increased by 3.1% against the indicator for the same period in 2019. This was caused by an increase in the number of deaths in June this year, which turned out to be 25.5 thousand more than in 2019. 7,035 people died directly from the coronavirus, in 1,399 cases it contributed to the emergence of complications that accelerated the death of patients. So far, there is no explanation for the growing discrepancy between the total number of additional deaths and the number of deaths from coronavirus, as well as data for any reliable predictions, and when revising the demographic and medical national projects, the White House will have to rely on the current figures.

Rosstat on Friday published data on the natural movement of the population for June this year, on the basis of which it is possible to assess the impact of the coronavirus epidemic on the mortality statistics of the Russian population for the first half of 2020. As follows from the statistics department’s figures, although the losses from COVID-19 themselves are still relatively small in absolute terms, against the background of the epidemic, the demographic indicators of the Russian Federation over these six months have deteriorated compared to last year.

In June, according to Rosstat, 7035 people died in the Russian Federation directly from coronavirus, in 1399 cases it contributed to the emergence of complications that accelerated the death of patients. Also, the coronavirus was recorded in another 3481 deceased, on whose death, however, it had no effect.

As a result, with the total number of deaths directly or indirectly attributable to coronavirus equal to 8435, June yielded to May in terms of the number of deaths, which is according to the previous (8974 cases), which according to updated data (9218 – Rosstat corrected them on Friday).

The reduction in the number of deaths in June, however, can later be revised upwards in a similar way, so it is too early to talk about a trend towards a decrease in the number of coronavirus deaths.

In total, 162.7 thousand people died in the Russian Federation in June 2020, which exceeds the same indicator for June last year by 25.5 thousand deaths, or 18.6%, and only a third of them (8435 cases) can be directly explained by the coronavirus. In May 2020, the excess of the number of deaths over the same month a year earlier amounted to 18.4 thousand, or 11.9%, of which the coronavirus accounted for up to half (9218 cases). In April, on the contrary, this year there were less deaths than last year, by 2,994 people, or by 1.9%, with the number of deaths from coronavirus in 2,183 people. So far, there is no explanation for the growing discrepancy between the total number of additional deaths and the number of deaths from coronavirus – without the publication by Rosstat of data on other causes of death in addition to coronavirus, it is impossible to understand whether it is necessary to assume a larger number of its victims, or the increase in non-coronavirus mortality is a consequence of the termination of routine medical care. Perhaps it will not be possible to clarify this – then it would be most correct to consider all the additional deaths as victims of the epidemic.

The excess of the June mortality rate in annual terms also led to an increase in its six-month analogue. According to the results of the first six months in 2020, 946.5 thousand people died, which exceeds the last year’s figure by 28 thousand people, or 3.1%. The mortality rate (the number of deaths per 1,000 people) also increased – from 12.6 to 13. In combination with the continuing decline in the birth rate, the increase in mortality has led to an increase in the rate of natural population decline. If last year it amounted to 198.8 thousand people, then this year – 265.5 thousand people. Note that such a half-year results do not determine the annual indicators: an increase in mortality in the first half of the year may turn into a decrease in the second, since the elderly and those who already have other diseases are the most difficult to tolerate the coronavirus. However, the government, when revising the goals of the national projects “Health” and “Demography” in the coming months, will most likely have to focus on the current figures.

Anastasia Manuilova

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