During the second wave of coronavirus in Spain 11000 more deaths have been observed than the previous year These are data on excess deaths published by the National Statistics Institute INE based on the information collected by civil registries A part of that excess could have been due to the heat but it does not seem to be the case the Carlos III Health Institute attributes 1950 deaths this year to high temperatures which are the same as it attributed last year.
Different factors can explain this difference On the one hand the ministries protocol only considers deaths confirmed with a diagnostic test but the people who die without testing contrary to what happened in March should be very few. Another possibility is that the information released by the ministry is out of date or incomplete.
The excess data collected by the INE make it necessary to look at the official figures with concern are they still having problems We know that the SiViES system through which the communities communicate the data published by Health accounts for half of the covid admissions of the hospitals themselves.
A similar problem could explain part of that difference between the 5400 deaths of the ministry in SiViES and the 11000 of the excess that the records observe compared to last year 10800 over the average of the last five years.
A third option is that the excess includes deaths from other pathologies Patients who have not been diagnosed in these months of crisis or who have received worse treatment Those deaths would be seen as excess but not in the official statistics of deaths from coronavirus as is logical They would also be anomalous deaths which cannot be attributed to the covid19 disease but to the health crisis that the virus has caused.
The highlight of the graph is the first wave an excess of 47000 deaths that were recorded in the spring There it can also be seen that the official figures were late Civil registries counted thousands of deaths in March that were only added later The INE statistics which has been published biweekly since June shows how the Ministry of Health continued to count deaths in May and June that according to the records had occurred earlier.
A peak is also observed in early August So surely an undetermined volume of deaths from coronavirus coincided with the effects of a heatwave which is a common source of mortality spikes According to the Carlos III Health Institute the high temperatures could produce up to 2000 deaths in two or three weeks around the beginning of August.
Normality has not returned since that excess of early August More deaths have been recorded than in previous years reaching 11000 more than last year That number brings the excess observed since March to almost 59000 deaths According to the INE figures that would be the bill for this crisis although the official number of deaths from covid only counts 33000.
Aragon registers the highest excess since summer It halted the outbreak in July but the fatalities continue to pile up steadily Worrying excesses are also observed in other regions where the virus is hitting hard such as Castilla y León or La Rioja which currently have a greater excess than other communities with more incidence such as Madrid and Navarra.
Andalusia and the Valencian Community have excesses of 15 and 13 in summer although their official deaths do not account for even a quarter of deaths Why this difference A part can be attributed to the high temperatures but surely not all In fact the Valencian Community registers in September with less heat excess of which official deaths from covid only explain half.
All these figures are even worse if we go back to March For every three people from Madrid who should have died under normal conditions this year five have died This proportion has been three for every two CastilianManchegos or seven for every five Catalans.
These data confirm that the excess of deaths registered during the current crisis has no comparison with anything that has happened in recent years In 2019 some 2000 deaths were attributed to the heat peaks and the previous one about 800 In January 2019 there was also an outbreak of flu which was perhaps an excess of 3000 deaths But none of those numbers is comparable to the 58000 excess deaths registered since March.