As Europe begins to get through the first coronavirus wave, we can start to get a sense of which parts of the continent have been hit hardest – and which have been unaffected. 8 out of 21 regions in Sweden have had significant excess deaths during the coronavirus pandemic, which is more than other countries in Europe. Västmanland is one of the worst-hit regions in Sweden.
We have seen tonnes of national corona comparisons in the last couple of months. But comparing nations easily becomes misleading. The spread of the pandemic is regional rather than national.
To better understand the spread of the virus we have gathered data on excess deaths from 500 subnational regions, across 20 European countries. The data has been collected from national statistical agencies as well as aggregated through Eurostat.
136 of these regions (27 percent) report a significant number of excess deaths, at least 25 percent more than usual. Another 158 report somewhat more deaths than normal.
It is noteworthy that
Excess deaths are the number of deaths this year compared to the historical average for the same period.
Measuring excess deaths is the best way of capturing the true toll of the coronavirus pandemic. Officially reported coronavirus deaths are difficult to compare, as countries count these in different ways.
In Sweden we have data for 21 regions:
Västmanland is one of the regions with a significant excess death rate. In total,
Stockholm is the worst hit region in Sweden. In Stockholm, 71 percent more people than usual have died since the beginning of the pandemic, which corresponds to 2,283 people.
Compared to other areas of Europe, Västmanland ranks 92nd out of the 500 regions we have data for.
Bergamo, in northern Italy, is one of the first places coronavirus took hold in Europe, and the region has had deaths many times higher than usual. Data is only available for Italy until the end of April, when the country was still close to the height of its pandemic, so these figures are likely to fall when more complete numbers are released.
But it's clear corona’s spread across Italy is geographically focused to the north of the country, suggesting it has been contained.
A country that stands out with a rather uniform spread of the disease is the United Kingdom. Every region but one report significant excess deaths.
Some countries, in Central and Eastern Europe, have barely any excess deaths in any region, or even none at all. Slovakia, for example has reported no excess deaths, nor has Lithuania. Bulgaria has a small number of excess deaths in just one region, Czechia in a handful.
|Region||Country||Excess deaths||Excess (%)||Latest date|
|Comunidad de Madrid||Spain||14,073||128||2020-06-14|
It’s important to note, that although excess deaths is the best metric we have available, statistical agencies in different countries have different lags in reporting, and these figures are still preliminary.
|Country||Deaths since start of pandemic||Expected deaths||Excess deaths||Excess (%)||Latest date||First week with excess|
|United Kingdom||213,482||148,947||64,535||43||June 7||11|