Demography of COVID-19 deaths
By creating a bilingual French-English internet platform providing international data on the demographics of deaths linked to the COVID-19 pandemic, INED has shown its excellence in making standardized data available to the scientific community and citizens at large. International comparisons are a key, integral component of INED-led research. A substantial labor of rationally organized, continuous data accumulation is what made it possible as early as April 2020 to begin studying mortality variations across a considerable number of countries in connection with respective national policies for combatting COVID-19; to assess the French situation from an international perspective; and to document death data collection methodologies in the countries involved.
Many countries took drastic, unprecedented measures to counter the COVID-19 pandemic. Within Europe, the first country to be hit, Italy, was also the first to respond by deciding to quarantine the main epidemic “hot spots,” decreeing a country-wide lockdown, and choosing to suspend all non-essential activities. The other European countries, with the exception of Sweden, instated a general lockdown with varyingly tight restrictions at some point between the March 5 and 23.
At the international level, policy measures have been both multiple and diverse (prohibition of large gatherings, closing of schools and public venues, border closings, population lockdowns, tracking people’s movements via their cell phones, and others); those policies have had repercussions on COVID-19 mortality dynamics. By taking into account demographics-based disparities in mortality, researchers have been able to develop the tools needed for rigorous assessment of the quality and comparability of all available data on deaths due to the virus. This preliminary work is crucial to precise analysis of trends and well-founded projections.
Currently, the platform provides mortality data on Austria, Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Data on other countries will be available soon.
Read our interview with INED senior researcher France Meslé and Jean-Marie Robine, a senior researcher at INSERM and advisor on aging and social issues in France and across the world to INED’s Office of the Director.