Excess Deaths in various countries

I am trying to get away from posting about the Coronavirus and spend my time talking about things like Afghanistan and insurgencies, but right now the Johns Hopkins Covid tracker is not opening, so I can’t do my weekly update. May have to wait until tomorrow to do that. So instead, let me point our a recent article in the Economist on excess deaths: https://www.economist.com/graphic-detail/coronavirus-excess-deaths-tracker

A few highlights:
1. Mexico: Covid-19 deaths: 201,600; Excess deaths: 494,690

2. Russia: Covid-19 deaths: 97,200; Excess deaths: 494,610

3. Italy: Covid-19 deaths: 86,490; Excess deaths: 116,410

4. United States: Covid-19 deaths: 558,060; Excess deaths: 597,490

5. Britain: Covid-19 deaths:  150,920: Excess deaths 119.320

6. Belgium: Covid-19 deaths: 24,020; Excess deaths: 18,890

7. France: Covid-19 deaths: 102,290: Excess deaths: 81,690 

8. Germany: Covid-19 deaths; Excess deaths: 52,670


So, there appears to be:

  1. A number of countries that grossly underreport Covid-19 deaths. Mexico and Russia are two of the more extreme cases.
  2. There are a large number of countries where reported Covid-19 deaths and excess deaths are similar. This includes the United States and Spain.
  3. There are a number of countries where they are reporting more Covid-19 deaths then they have excess deaths. This is Britain, Belgium, France, Italy and Germany.
  4. And then there are countries like Japan and New Zealand where excess deaths is in the negative (for example New Zealand reports 30 Covid-19 deaths, while their excess deaths are -2,060. In the case of Japan is it -11,280 Excess deaths compared to 7,880 reported Covid-19 cases). There are 14 countries that report negative excess deaths during this time. This is not entirely surprising as shut downs reduce traffic, and vehicle accidents are a leading cause of death in most countries. 

China is not listed in this article.

Share this:
Christopher A. Lawrence
Christopher A. Lawrence

Christopher A. Lawrence is a professional historian and military analyst. He is the Executive Director and President of The Dupuy Institute, an organization dedicated to scholarly research and objective analysis of historical data related to armed conflict and the resolution of armed conflict. The Dupuy Institute provides independent, historically-based analyses of lessons learned from modern military experience.
Mr. Lawrence was the program manager for the Ardennes Campaign Simulation Data Base, the Kursk Data Base, the Modern Insurgency Spread Sheets and for a number of other smaller combat data bases. He has participated in casualty estimation studies (including estimates for Bosnia and Iraq) and studies of air campaign modeling, enemy prisoner of war capture rates, medium weight armor, urban warfare, situational awareness, counterinsurgency and other subjects for the U.S. Army, the Defense Department, the Joint Staff and the U.S. Air Force. He has also directed a number of studies related to the military impact of banning antipersonnel mines for the Joint Staff, Los Alamos National Laboratories and the Vietnam Veterans of American Foundation.
His published works include papers and monographs for the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment and the Vietnam Veterans of American Foundation, in addition to over 40 articles written for limited-distribution newsletters and over 60 analytical reports prepared for the Defense Department. He is the author of Kursk: The Battle of Prokhorovka (Aberdeen Books, Sheridan, CO., 2015), America’s Modern Wars: Understanding Iraq, Afghanistan and Vietnam (Casemate Publishers, Philadelphia & Oxford, 2015), War by Numbers: Understanding Conventional Combat (Potomac Books, Lincoln, NE., 2017) , The Battle of Prokhorovka (Stackpole Books, Guilford, CT., 2019), The Battle for Kyiv (Frontline Books, Yorkshire, UK, 2023), Aces at Kursk (Air World, Yorkshire, UK, 2024), Hunting Falcon: The Story of WWI German Ace Hans-Joachim Buddecke (Air World, Yorkshire, UK, 2024) and The Siege of Mariupol (Frontline Books, Yorkshire, UK, 2024).
Mr. Lawrence lives in northern Virginia, near Washington, D.C., with his wife and son.

Articles: 1516


  1. Also, consider that masking and distancing probably reduced transmission of other infections such as flu and thus fewer deaths from flu (including of some who would have died from flu if they hadn’t died from COVID-19).

  2. Your categories 3) and 4) are simply an statistical effect of calculating excess deaths:

    You calculate the average deaths of the last four or five years. If you have a flu year like 2017/18 in this period of time you get a high average.

    In category 3) you have in 2020 without flu a lower death rate than the average of 2016-19, therefore the excess mortality is smaller than the corona deaths.

    In category 4) the number of corona deaths is even lower than the difference between average 2016-2019 and non-corona deaths in 2020.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *