2020 Saw Most Excess Deaths Worldwide Since Second World War

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2020 Saw Most Excess Deaths Worldwide Since Second World War
The pandemic saw excess deaths rise by 14% - Image Source: Wikimedia

DURING 2020, the world saw the most excess deaths since the Second World War according to recently released statistics.

“Excess” deaths refer to fatalities that breach annual average figures. By this measurement, 2020 saw a 14% increase from the average of the last five years – with a total death toll of 697,000 marking an increase of 85,000 fatalities.

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This is the highest increase in excess deaths in 75 years when the Second World War caused the rate to rise dramatically. However, the world’s death rate (total deaths) has climbed to levels that were seen as recently as ten years ago. This is evidence that efforts over the last decade to raise life expectancies were undone by the pandemic, according to some analysts.

The UK has seen a particularly high spike in “excess deaths” during the pandemic year, which the chief executive of King’s Fund believes warrants a “public inquiry” according to a statement published by the BBC.

“The UK has one of the highest rates of excess deaths in the world, with more excess deaths per million people than most other European countries or the US,” said Richard Murray, whose think-tank analyses British health system data.


‘It will take a public inquiry to determine exactly what went wrong, but mistakes have been made. In a pandemic, mistakes cost lives. Decisions to enter lockdown have consistently come late, with the government failing to learn from past mistakes or the experiences of other countries.”


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Oisin is an Irish writer based in Seville, the sunny capital of Andalucia. After starting his working life as a bookseller, he moved into journalism and cut his teeth as a reporter at one of Ireland's biggest news websites. Since joining Euro Weekly News in November, he has enjoyed covering the latest stories from Seville, Spain and further afield - with special interests in crime, cybersecurity, and European politics. Anyone who can pronounce his name first try gets a free cerveza...

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