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Publications

Read our publications on the COVID-19 related excess death and related issues.

José Manuel Aburto, Jonas Schöley, Ilya Kashnitsky, Luyin Zhang, Charles Rahal, Trifon I Missov, Melinda C Mills, Jennifer B Dowd, Ridhi Kashyap

Quantifying impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic through life-expectancy losses: a population-level study of 29 countries

International Journal of Epidemiology, published, https://doi.org/10.1093/ije/dyab207

Our José Manuel Aburto, Jonas Schöley, Ilya Kashnitsky, Trifon I Missov and co-authors published the paper in which the toll on human lives due to COVID-19 is estimated. Data from most of the 29 countries – spanning most of Europe, the US and Chile – that were analysed by scientists recorded reductions in life expectancy last year and at a scale that has wiped out years of progress. The biggest declines in life expectancy were among males in the US, with a decline of 2.2 years relative to 2019 levels, followed by Lithuanian males (1.7 years). Denmark is one of the few counties where mortality levels were very little affected and life expectancy did not decrease.

Read the article here.


Silvia Rizzi and James W. Vaupel.

Short-term forecasts of expected deaths

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), published, https://www.pnas.org/content/118/15/e2025324118 .

In their paper Silvia Rizzi and James Vaupel introduce a simple but powerful method for analyzing mortality after a major shock. Their method makes short-term forecasts of the number of deaths that would have occurred if the coronavirus pandemic or other health catastrophe had not occurred. They apply the method to show, more conclusively than up to now, that Denmark, which imposed a lockdown during the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic, suffered considerably lower risks of death than Sweden, which did not impose a lockdown.

Rizzi and Vaupel introduce a method for making short-term mortality forecasts of a few months, illustrating it by estimating how many deaths might have happened if some major shock had not occurred. We apply the method to assess excess mortality from March to June 2020 in Denmark and Sweden as a result of the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic; associated policy interventions; and behavioral, healthcare, social, and economic changes. We chose to compare Denmark and Sweden because reliable data were available and because the two countries are similar but chose different responses to COVID-19: Denmark imposed a rather severe lockdown; Sweden did not. We make forecasts by age and sex to predict expected deaths if COVID-19 had not struck. Subtracting these forecasts from observed deaths gives the excess death count. Excess deaths were lower in Denmark than Sweden during the first wave of the pandemic. The later/earlier ratio we propose for shortcasting is easy to understand, requires less data than more elaborate approaches, and may be useful in many countries in making both predictions about the future and the past to study the impact on mortality of coronavirus and other epidemics. In the application to Denmark and Sweden, prediction intervals are narrower and bias is less than when forecasts are based on averages of the last 5 y, as is often done. More generally, later/earlier ratios may prove useful in short-term forecasting of illnesses and births as well as economic and other activity that varies seasonally or periodically.

Read the article here.


Aburto JM, Kashyap R, Schöley J, et al

Estimating the burden of the COVID-19 pandemic on mortality, life expectancy and lifespan inequality in England and Wales: a population-level analysis

J Epidemiol Community Health Published Online First: 19 January 2021. doi: 10.1136/jech-2020-215505

Our José Manuel Aburto, Jonas Schöley and co-authors published a paper in The Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health showing the impact of excess mortality during the COVID19 pandemic on the life expectancy and lifespan inequality in England and Wales. Their estimates of sex-specific excess mortality risk and deaths suggest that life expectancy at birth dropped 0.9 and 1.2 years for females and males relative to the 2019 levels, respectively. Lifespan inequality also fell over the same period by five months for both sexes. Their findings were widely covered by media.

Read the article here.


COVID-19 related excess death in Denmark

We estimate the net impact of COVID-19 on mortality and estimate life years lost or saved since the onset of the pandemic in Denmark in March 2020.

Read more here.