Anna Kavanagh

A report published by HIQA on 3 July on excess deaths says the number of Covid deaths was overstated and that the death rate fell below what would normally have been expected due to people dying prematurely in April.

The Report says:
The Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) analysed excess mortality in Ireland from 11 March 2020 to 16 June 2020 to determine whether the reported COVID-19 mortality provides an accurate estimate of excess mortality during the epidemic.

The analysis uses data from Ireland’s death notices website ‘’.
Data were analysed using a time series approach whereby expected deaths were predicted using historical death notice data.

Sensitivity analyses were conducted to determine the robustness of the findings.
Based on the available data, the main findings of this analysis are:
Based on the deaths notices reported at, there is clear evidence of excess mortality occurring since the first reported death due to COVID-19 in Ireland.

Excess mortality is estimated as the number deaths by any cause (all-cause deaths) recorded greater than the number of all-cause deaths predicted based on a time series model of daily deaths.

Excess mortality was found to be 1,072 (95% CI: 851 to 1,290) between 11 March 2020 and 16 June 2020 inclusive.

The officially reported number of COVID-19 deaths for the same period was 1,709.
Therefore, the estimated excess mortality is less than the officially reported COVID-19-related mortality by 637 cases.

The officially reported COVID-19 deaths may overestimate the true burden of excess mortality specifically caused by COVID-19.

This is may be due to the likely inclusion within official COVID-19 figures of people who were known to be infected with SARS-CoV-2 (coronavirus) at the time of death who were at or close to end-of–life independently of COVID-19 or whose cause of death may have been predominantly due to other factors.
Excess mortality peaked over a six week period (25 March 2020 to 5 May 2020).
During those six weeks, excess mortality was 1,200. During that period, 1,332 COVID-19 related deaths were officially reported.

Therefore, the estimated excess mortality was less than the officially reported COVID-19 related mortality by 132 cases.
For the period from 11 March to 16 June, the observed mortality was 13% more than that expected.

During the six week peak period, the excess mortality was 33% more than that expected (weekly excess ranging from 10% to 54%).
COVID-19 may have accelerated time of death in frail and vulnerable individuals over the peak period.

The excess mortality observed at the peak is now being followed by a period of decreased mortality as date of death for individuals who would ordinarily have died during this time may have occurred earlier than expected.

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