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Pandemic 2020?

Last updated on 08/04/2021

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Population data for Luxembourg, ordered by age and sex, can be downloaded from https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/web/population-demography-migration-projections/data/database. Death figures from 1980 to today, ordered by age and sex, are available at https://gd.lu/dXhZ0q.  

I’ve dived into these two data series, to gain a clearer understanding of the extent of the so-called pandemic, which we are told we experienced in 2020. The full analysis including all data can be found here.

In 2020 4,609 people died in Luxembourg, or 0.74% of the population on 1.1.20. The previous year these numbers were 4,283 and 0.7%. Let us look at mortality history:

The chart displays mortality for the past 41 years for which Eurostat publishes data. Last year’s death rate was lower than in 2011, 2010 and all years from 2007 to 1980. None of these years was officially declared a pandemic, despite much higher mortality.

Simply dividing the number of deaths by the population size at the beginning of the year ignores any demographic developments and is therefore misleading. As the next chart shows, using the group of 95 years and older as an example, the share of elder people has increased significantly over the past 10 years.

Why does this matter?

Because mortality is highly age dependent, as the following table illustrates:

Mortality2019
all ages0.70%
0-4 years0.10%
5-9 years0.00%
10-14 years0.00%
15-19 years0.02%
20-24 years0.04%
25-29 years0.03%
30-34 years0.04%
35-39 years0.06%
40-44 years0.05%
45-49 years0.15%
50-54 years0.28%
55-59 years0.43%
60-64 years0.81%
65-69 years1.07%
70-74 years1.73%
75-79 years2.94%
80-84 years5.40%
85-89 years10.42%
90-94 years20.40%
95 years and more28.59%

In 2019, the likelihood of a 30–34-year-old to die was 0.04%. However, for a person aged 95 or more, the same probability was 28.59%. One would therefore expect mortality to increase with an aging population. With or without any coronavirus.

An objective death rate analysis therefore requires consideration of our population’s age structure. The result is given in the next table. I have calculated average mortality by age category over varying timeframes. From these average death rates, I have derived the number of deaths that would have occurred in 2020. If we take for instance the average mortality by age group for the 40 years from 1980 to 2019, 6,531 people would have died last year instead of 4,609. If we reference the years 2010 to 2019, the death toll would have been 4,785 instead of 4,609. If we compare to 2019, we get 4,411 deaths.

1980-20192010-201920202019
all ages6,5314,7854,6094,411
0-4 years48272933
5-9 years5240
10-14 years5200
15-19 years178137
20-24 years2713914
25-29 years37181214
30-34 years41231318
35-39 years60313330
40-44 years85443423
45-49 years137837870
50-54 years225144102131
55-59 years315207198183
60-64 years403274238279
65-69 years498345326295
70-74 years637431422381
75-79 years783514511479
80-84 years1,075738714683
85-89 years1,095877860834
90-94 years726691740695
95 years and more311314273241

I am struggling to find any justification for the declaration of a pandemic, with extreme violations of our most basic rights. The lack of any excess mortality jumps out of the following chart, which pictures the historic death rate by age group:

No age group shows an exceptionally high mortality.

If we look at mortality by month, ignoring the demographic evolution, we observe that November and December were particularly bad and June particularly good months.

The Statec’s statement (cf. https://statistiques.public.lu/en/news/population/population/2021/02/20210203/index.html), that we need to go back to 1976 to find a similarly high number of deaths (4,507 vs 4,609 for 2020) strikes me as questionable. To see why, we just need to look at the population size evolution:

All else being equal, we would expect the number of deaths to be proportional to the population size. It would thus only be logical to see a record number of deaths in 2020, for the simple reason that we saw a record number of people living in the country. This does not provide any evidence of a pandemic. The death rate history chart suggests that the downtrend from 1980 to 2016 has ground to a halt. It was this downtrend, however, that prevented the number of deaths to increase in proportion to the population size. As the next chart shows, the number of deaths started to rise already in 2009:

Part of the reason may well be the high population growth rate from 2009 onwards, as shown in the following chart:

The same Statec announcement claims that 10.8% of all deaths in 2020 were due to Covid-19. This begs the question, in how many cases an autopsy was performed to verify conclusively that Covid-19 was the real cause of death.

To return to the title of this analysis, I believe that by now you, dear reader, should be armed with the facts required to decide for yourself whether 2020 was a pandemic year or not.