Excess deaths in Portugal “in line with EU”

Phenomenon – little-discussed for months – shows scant sign of change

The ‘mystery’ of excess deaths that have marked European statistics since the pandemic years has been little discussed for months, until a story in the national media today that says: “Portugal once again recorded an excess mortality rate in June, in line with the European Union, national statistics institute INE revealed today, citing data from the European Statistics office Eurostat”.

Says Lusa, the excess mortality indicator calculated by Eurostat compares the number of deaths recorded each month in Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland with the average monthly number of deaths for the period 2016-2019.

“By definition, excess mortality occurs when the number of deaths from all causes is higher than would be expected in a given period. The higher the value, the greater the number of additional deaths compared to those in the reference period.

“According to the monthly vital statistics released today by INE, which cites data from the first half of the year from Eurostat, the EU overall once again had excess mortality in June (as it did in March, April and May).

“Of the 27 EU member states,18 had excess mortality in June, including Portugal, which in the first half of this year only did not have excess mortality in January” – this being remarkable in that habitually January is a month of high deaths, due to the winter/ cold weather.

Early this year, media outlets reported that authorities registered 15,000 more deaths than expected over the year, but that none of the experts could explain the phenomenon.

“Instituto Ricardo Jorge (INSA) is leading an in-depth study on mortality in Portugal, but conclusions are not yet known”, said SIC at the time. 

In March, INSA admitted that “the standardised mortality rate increased in Portugal from 2020 and still has not returned to pre-pandemic levels” – but still had no ‘answers’ as to the root cause/s.

A text by Lusa explained: “A study by the instituto Ricardo Jorge concluded that in Portugal the risk of dying is greater than it was before the pandemic, which is not solely explained by the aging of the population.

“INSA experts point out that, with the data available, it is not possible to know whether the increased risk of death is entirely explained by events such as flu peaks, Covid-19 and periods of extreme heat and cold, or whether “other factors associated with the pandemic” may have indirectly contributed to the increase in mortality or enhanced the effect of the other factors”.

Since then, very little has been forthcoming. It is not even clear if INSA is still conducting the in-depth study.

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