The increase from 2016 to 2020 matters but the increase from 2018 to 2019 doesn’t?
In the coronavirus-free year 2016, the number of annual deaths per million residents of Israel was 5,145.
In the coronavirus-plagued year 2020, that number turned into a staggering 5,276!
Are you panicking yet?
Coronavirus has thus far claimed approximately 2.3 million lives across the world. In Israel last week the number of deaths from the disease passed the 5,000 mark, with most of the victims (87%) aged 65 and older.
The appearance of the virus in Israel was accompanied by vigorous debate in the media and there were those who claimed that it was “a hyped-up flu.” At the same time there were professionals at the Ministry of Health who maintained that it was a dangerous and lethal disease. An evaluation of the data for mortality in Israel nearly a year since the outbreak of the pandemic provides an answer, albeit a partial one, to this puzzle. The mortality data for 2020 indicate that 48.6 thousand people in Israel died during this year. The number of deaths in 2020 is high, as compared to the four preceding years.
However, since the population of the country increased over the course of the year, the mortality rate (the number of deaths in relation to the size of the population) must also be taken into account. In 2020, the mortality rate was 5,300 people for every million residents, as compared to about 5,100 deaths on average for the years 2016-2019 (during which the rate ranged from 5,010 to 5,150). In other words, in 2020, the excess mortality (the number of deaths from all causes as compared to what one would expect to see under normal conditions) was about 1,700 people. Most of the excess mortality is found among older people.
We know that lockdowns kill people. Prohibiting people from going to the hospital for reasons other than the flu alone kills a lot of people. Then there’s deaths of despair shooting up. And so on.
So we would expect the deaths to increase for the very reason that there is a lockdown.
However, this tiny increase is surprising. It must be that accidents decreased, and it all sort of evened out.