Rosstat has published new data on mortality. Here’s what we learned from them The second wave is definitely heavier than the first, and by the end of 2020, a quarter of Russians will be ill with covid
Rosstat on December 10 published new data on mortality in all regions of Russia – the number of deaths in October in Russia was 30% higher than last year. This data improved understanding of the fall wave of the epidemic. For example, it has now been proven that the second wave is heavier than the spring one: most likely, in September and October alone, almost the same number of people died from complications associated with the coronavirus in Russia as from April to August. And also Russia has already entered the top five countries with the largest number of victims of the virus.All Meduza’s materials on the coronavirus are open for distribution under the
What exactly has Rosstat published?
From the data on deaths per month, excess mortality can be calculated . And from it – almost any data about the epidemic – including the real number of those who contracted the virus (including those who have suffered infection without symptoms).
During the coronavirus epidemic, excess deaths became the most accurate data on the epidemic. This is how officials refer to them: recently, a source in the federal government, familiar with the work of the operational headquarters for the fight against coronavirus, told Meduza that the authorities did not have more accurate data.
It is believed that these data are difficult to manipulate: information about mortality comes to Rosstat from the registry offices, which issue death certificates to the relatives of the deceased. It is impossible to carry out the funeral of the deceased without this evidence.
READ MORE ABOUT DATA MANIPULATION HERE.
- In many regions of Russia, data on deaths from coronavirus are systematically underestimated. And this is how it goes
In theory, not all excess mortality can be associated with coronavirus: for example, some of it could be attributed to the fact that due to the epidemic, medical care for other diseases has worsened. However, in practice, it turns out that in 90-100% of cases of “excess deaths” in 2020 are associated with coronavirus infection. This is evidenced by reports from a few regions where data on excess mortality have been analyzed in detail (for example, the Moscow Department of Health has been doing this since April ).
The main drawback of excess mortality data in Russia is that they are published with a long delay and are not broken down by week, let alone days. Rosstat publishes its reports 35–40 days after the end of each month; to this it must be added that death occurs on average 20–25 days after infection. The data arriving with such a delay is clearly insufficient to accurately understand not only the future, but even the present development of the epidemic. In European countries, data – albeit incomplete – are published every week and then updated.
However, Rosstat data is quite enough to assess general trends, identify manipulations with data on mortality from coronavirus and give a rough forecast for the near future. WHAT IS WRONG WITH OTHER DATA
Who distorts statistics the most?
Coronavirus deaths are underreported in many regions. Some – there are more than a dozen such regions – provide clearly “drawn” numbers of deaths not only to the public database on the Stopkoronavirus.rf website, but also to closed government registers.
According to Rosstat data for October, the data manipulation champion has not changed: Bashkortostan underestimates mortality data by more than 100 times. We can say that the figures provided by the republic have nothing to do with reality at all. So, in October there were 1601 “excess” deaths compared to October 2019. At the same time, only nine people died from all the reasons associated with the coronavirus, according to official reports.
ABOUT COVID IN THE REPUBLIC
- Officially, less than 70 people died from covid in Bashkiria. Statistics could be underestimated by a record – several thousand deaths at once Doctors say that information simply “disappears”
Neighbors from Tatarstan and several other regions are slightly behind Bashkortostan. And even in Moscow, which is considered one of the most honest regions in terms of coronavirus statistics, excess mortality exceeds the number of coronavirus deaths in the Stopcoronavirus.rf operational base more than twice.
On average, in Russia, the data on excess mortality in different months exceed those indicated in operational reports on the Stopkoronavirus.rf website by 4-7 times (in October – by 6.5 times).
Where does this difference come from? Is it just manipulation?
How many people actually died during the epidemic in Russia? How many were infected?
The excess death rate in Russia from April to the end of October was 164,057 people. This figure is likely close to the actual deaths from the coronavirus.
In October, the excess death rate was 47,777 people. In September and October, a total of 79,443 people. This is not much less than in all the previous months of the epidemic – 84,614 thousand in April-August.
The official (according to Stopkoronavirus.rf) mortality in November was 66% higher than in October. Most likely, excess mortality will also be higher – that is, what can be called real mortality from coronavirus. Thus, it can be predicted that in the three months of autumn in Russia, significantly more people died from the virus than in spring and summer.
Based on the excess mortality, one can roughly calculate the real number of people infected since the beginning of the epidemic. Then it turns out that at the end of October more than 24 million Russians, or about 16% of the population, had “contacted” the virus.
While maintaining the same monthly excess mortality as in October, by the end of the year the country will have 26% of those who have recovered. However, it is worth remembering that mortality rates in November and December are likely to be higher. Most regions are just approaching the peak of infection, and in Moscow, which remains the epicenter of the epidemic, the number of cases is most likely not growing, but not decreasing yet.
THE SECOND WAVE IN RUSSIA
- “There is a disaster in the regions” The second wave of coronavirus is in full swing – and the health care system is choking. We spoke with doctors about what is happening in Russian hospitals
- Russia had time to prepare for the second wave of covid, but now ambulances are choking with calls, and there are no more places in hospitals Meduza report from Novosibirsk
What is happening in other countries? Is Russia a catastrophe or not?
Russia has already entered the top five countries with the highest number of coronavirus victims. It is difficult to say which one it is on this sad list – there is an underestimation of coronavirus deaths all over the world, and data on excess mortality, like us, are collected with delays. Most likely, more victims than in Russia – only in the US, Brazil , Mexico and, perhaps , in India .
However, a demographic crisis of the scale of the 1990s and early 2000s does not threaten Russia yet. Even if the number of deaths in a month in November and December will be two-thirds more than in October, then this year the country will die a little more than 2.1 million people. This is 300 thousand more than in 2019, but less than in the worst year of the demographic crisis – 2003, when 2.365 million people died.
But the population decline will be very significant: the birth rate in the country since 2016 does not compensate for the death rate. And, judging by the data of Rosstat, it continues to decline in 2020 – minus 57 thousand in January-October compared to the same period in 2019.
The decline will approach the scale of the catastrophe at the end of the last century – the beginning of the current century: if the October trends continue, it will exceed 680 thousand people – 2.1 million deaths per 1.41 million births. For comparison – in the worst year since the collapse of the USSR in 2000, the decline was 958 thousand; in 2019 it was minus 317 thousand. However, with the end of the epidemic, it is worth waiting for some “compensation” – mortality may decrease slightly due to those who were already seriously ill, but died prematurely from coronavirus in 2020.
But if we move from general and dry demographic figures to assessing the consequences for specific families, then the situation looks much more tragic. Yes, mainly the elderly with serious illnesses die from the coronavirus. However, as researchers from Harvard Medical School have shown , if it were not for the virus, deaths in the United States would have lived on average 13 years longer. There are no similar calculations for Russia.