Mortality in Bulgaria before and after COVID-19
Confirmed deaths as a result of COVID-19 and subsequent complications in Bulgaria exceeded 30 thousand at the end of 2021. On social networks and in traditional media politicians, doctors and commentators express doubts about the accuracy of information and point out that mortality in our country before coronavirus was high.
"This curve of the so-called pandemic, it follows its own logic, as has happened every year with all respiratory diseases," said Vazrazhdane leader Kostadin Kostadinov in an interview with Nova TV in December. Infectious disease specialist and pediatrician Assoc. Prof. Atanas Mangarov told Radio K2 in September about the deaths in Bulgaria during the pandemic: "This is not because of covid, but because of the way we live, because of our health system, which is rotten." He added that even before the coronavirus, mortality in Bulgaria was the highest in the European Union and sometimes in the world. However, Mangarov does not cite specific real data of those who died in our country before and after COVID-19.
Numerous publications on the internet claim that there are cases of people who have died from a non-COVID-19 viral infection, accident, or other cause, but are reported in the statistics as having died as a result of coronavirus.
Because of these allegations, Factcheck.bg made a report in which it will consider only the total mortality in Bulgaria from 2016 so far, regardless of the cause of death. In order to eliminate the factor for the quality of health care, no comparisons will be made with mortality in other countries, where the service has a different level - lower or higher. Healthcare in Bulgaria has not been reformed in recent years, so we will accept the condition of health services in our country as an equal condition.
How are statistics conducted?
The statistics in Bulgaria are managed by the National Statistical Institute (NSI). Data on deaths, as it is officially called, include Bulgarian citizens with a current address in the country, regardless of the place of death, and foreign citizens who have a current address in our country and have died in Bulgaria. The data are based on issued death certificates, as is the methodology in other European countries. The information is submitted by the General Directorate for Civil Registration and Administrative Services at the Ministry of Regional Development and Public Works.
Data from 2016 so far
Official statistics report an increase in total mortality in 2020 and 2021 compared to previous 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019. The published comparative graph by week shows that the mortality rate at the end of last year, as well as in the spring and autumn of this year is significantly higher than in previous years. Only in summer in all years the mortality rate is relatively close. In red are the data for this year, in purple - for last year.
Deaths in Bulgaria per weeks in the period 2016-2021
The number of deaths in 2016 was 107,580 people, which is 2,537 cases less than the previous year.
The death toll in 2017 was 109,791, which is 2,211 cases more than in 2016. In 2018, the number of deaths was 108,526, or 1,265 fewer. The death toll in 2019 was 108,083, or 443 fewer.
The number of deaths in 2020 is 124,735 people - compared to the previous year, deaths increased by 16,652.
By the 49th week of 2021, ie from January 1 to December 5, according to preliminary NSI data, the number of deaths is greater than in any other previous year, including last year. Final data will be published by the statistical institute in early 2022, but the latest chart in this publication shows information on the number of deaths by early December 2021. In 43 of 49 weeks, the number of deaths is higher this year than in 2020., and only at week 6, the number is lower.
Mortality rates by weeks (%)
Higher mortality since the second half of 2020
In the first quarter of 2021 (from the 1st to the 13th week) the number of deaths was 36,152. Compared to the same period last year, the number of deaths increased by 7,491, or 26.1%. The death toll for the period last year was 28,661.
In the second quarter of 2021 (from the 14th to the 26th week) the death toll was 33,945. Compared to the same period in 2020, the number of deaths increased by 8,754, or 33.8%, and compared to the first quarter of 2021 decreased by 2 601, or by 7.1%. The death toll for the period in 2020 is 25,371.
Increase in deaths in 2021 and 2021 compared to the average number of deaths in the previous five years
In the third quarter of 2021 (weeks 27 to 39) the number of deaths was 30,071. Compared to the same period last year, deaths increased by 4,463, or 17.4%, while compared to the second quarter of In 2021 they decreased by 4,276, or by 12.4%. The total number of deaths for the same period in 2020 was 25,608.
Deaths in Bulgaria by weeks in the period 2021-2021
All other things being equal - the state of the health system, the emergence of seasonal influenza viruses and all other diseases, the inspection of Factcheck.bg found that there is increased overall mortality in 2020 and an even greater increase in deaths according to preliminary data for 2021 - until December 5, according to official NSI statistics.
Georgi Marchev is the founder, video producer, and narrator of Story Films. With experience in creating video stories on the Internet, bTV, and Nova. He started from newspaper and online news journalism - Dnevnik newspaper, Dnevnik.bg website and Capital Daily newspaper. He graduated in journalism and production at the University of National and World Economy. Part of the author's team of the text entitled "From the Istanbul Convention to the Fraud c0vid-19", awarded first place in the hackathon "Health on target" of the Association of European Journalists - Bulgaria.
/OFFNews /Factcheck.bg /NSI
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