BACKGROUND: We aimed to build a basic daily mortality curve in Israel based on 20-year data accounting for long-term and annual trends, influenza-like illness (ILI) and climate factors among others, and to use the basic curve to estimate excess mortality during 65 weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020-2021 stratified by age groups. METHODS: Using daily mortality counts for the period 1 January 2000 to 31 December 2019, weekly ILI counts, daily climate and yearly population sizes, we fitted a quasi-Poisson model that included other temporal covariates (a smooth yearly trend, season, day of week) to define a basic mortality curve. Excess mortality was calculated as the difference between the observed and expected deaths on a weekly and periodic level. Analyses were stratified by age group. RESULTS: Between 23 March 2020 and 28 March 2021, a total of 51 361 deaths were reported in Israel, which was 12% higher than the expected number for the same period (expected 45 756 deaths; 95% prediction interval, 45 325-46 188; excess deaths, 5605). In the same period, the number of COVID-19 deaths was 6135 (12% of all observed deaths), 9.5% larger than the estimated excess mortality. Stratification by age group yielded a heterogeneous age-dependent pattern. Whereas in ages 90+ years (11% excess), 100% of excess mortality was attributed to COVID-19, in ages 70-79 years there was a greater excess (21%) with only 82% attributed to COVID-19. In ages 60-69 and 20-59 years, excess mortality was 14% and 10%, respectively, and the number of COVID-19 deaths was higher than the excess mortality. In ages 0-19 years, we found 19% fewer deaths than expected. CONCLUSION: The findings of an age-dependent pattern of excess mortality may be related to indirect pathways in mortality risk, specifically in ages <80 years, and to the implementation of the lockdown policies, specifically in ages 0-19 years with lower deaths than expected.
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© The Author(s) 2022; all rights reserved. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the International Epidemiological Association.
- excess mortality
- mortality curve
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