Different trends in excess mortality in a Central European country compared to main European regions in the year of the COVID-19 pandemic (2020): a Hungarian analysis.

Krisztina Bogos, Zoltan Kiss, Anna Kerpel Fronius, Gabriella Temesi, Jeno Elek, Ildikó Madurka, Zsuzsanna Cselkó, Péter Csányi, Zsolt Abonyi-Tóth, György Rokszin, Zsófia Barcza and Judit Moldvay (Pathology & Oncology Research, https://doi.org/10.3389/pore.2021.1609774)

Semmelweis Egyetem


This study examined cumulative excess mortality in European countries in the year of the Covid-19 pandemic and characterized the dynamics of the pandemic in different countries, focusing on Hungary and the Central and Eastern European region.


Age-standardized cumulative excess mortality was calculated based on weekly mortality data from the EUROSTAT database, and was compared between 2020 and the 2016–2019 reference period in European countries.


Cumulate weekly excess mortality in Hungary was in the negative range until week 44. By week 52, it reached 9,998 excess deaths, corresponding to 7.73% cumulative excess mortality vs. 2016–2019 (p-value 0.030 vs. 2016–2019). In Q1, only Spain and Italy reported excess mortality compared to the reference period. Significant increases in excess mortality were detected between weeks 13 and 26 in Spain, United Kingdom, Belgium, Netherland and Sweden. Romania and Portugal showed the largest increases in age standardized cumulative excess mortality in the Q3. The majority of Central and Eastern European countries experienced an outstandingly high impact of the pandemic in Q4 in terms of excess deaths. Hungary ranked 11th in cumulative excess mortality based on the latest available data of from the EUROSTAT database.


Hungary experienced a mortality deficit in the first half of 2020 compared to previous years, which was followed by an increase in mortality during the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, reaching 7.7% cumulative excess mortality by the end of 2020. The excess was lower than in neighbouring countries with similar dynamics of the pandemic.