National all-cause mortality during the COVID-19 pandemic: a Danish registry-based study

Elisabeth Helen Anna Mills, Amalie Lykkemark Møller, Filip Gnesin, Nertila Zylyftari, Marcella Broccia, Britta Jensen, Morten Schou, Emil L Fosbøl, Lars Køber, Mikkel Porsborg Andersen, Matthew Phelps, Thomas Gerds, Christian Torp-Pedersen

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18 Citations (Scopus)


Denmark implemented early widespread social distancing to reduce pressure on the healthcare system from the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, with the aims to reduce mortality. Unintended consequences might be delays in treatment for other diseases and subsequent mortality. We examined national all-cause mortality comparing weeks 1-27 in 2020 and 2015-2019. This registry-based study used Danish national registry data until 5 July 2020. We examined all-cause mortality rates among all deaths recorded from 2015 to 2020 and among chronic conditions (cardiovascular (cardiac & circulatory), chronic pulmonary, chronic kidney disease, cancer, and diabetes), comparing each week in 2020 to weeks in 2015-2019. In 2020, there were 28,363 deaths in weeks 1-27 (30 December 2019-5 July 2020), the mean deaths in 2015-2019 were 28,630 deaths (standard deviation 784). Compared to previous years, the mortality rate in weeks 3-10 of 2020 was low, peaking in week 14 (17.6 per 100,000 persons in week 9, 19.9 per 100,000 in week 14). Comorbidity prevalence among deceased individuals was similar in 2020 and 2015-2019: 71.1% of all deceased had a prior cardiovascular diagnosis, 30.0% of all deceased had a prior cardiac diagnosis. There were 493 deaths with COVID-19 in weeks 11-27, (59.8% male), and 75.1% had a prior cardiovascular diagnosis. Weekly mortality rates for pre-existing chronic conditions peaked in week 14, and then declined. During the COVID-19 pandemic, due to timely lockdown measures, the mortality rate in Denmark has not increased compared to the mortality rates in the same period during 2015-2019.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Epidemiology
Issue number11
Pages (from-to)1007-1019
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2020


  • covid19
  • COVID-19
  • Comorbidity
  • Mortality
  • Population
  • Epidemiology


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