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COVID-19

In charts: How coronavirus mortality rates compared around Europe

A new study has revealed how European countries and major cities compared when it comes to death rates during the coronavirus pandemic.

In charts: How coronavirus mortality rates compared around Europe
A coronavirus patient is treated at a hospital in Madrid. Photo: AFP

The study concluded that that in the first half of 2020 England had “the longest continuous period of excess mortality of any country compared, resulting in England having the highest levels of excess mortality in Europe for the period as a whole”.

It also found that Spain had the highest peak level of excess deaths – meaning that at a particular stage in the crisis the situation in Spain was worse than anywhere else in Europe.

The study was carried out by the Office for National Statistics in the UK because of the “considerable interest in international comparisons of mortality during the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.”

The ONS said: “The best way of comparing the mortality impact internationally is by looking at all-cause mortality rates by local area, region and country compared with the five-year average.

“All-cause mortality avoids the problem of different countries recording Covid-19 deaths in different ways, and also takes into account the indirect impact of the pandemic, such as deaths from other causes that might be related to delayed access to healthcare.”

The study also concluded that when local authority areas were compared rather than countries, the highest rates of excess deaths were in central Spain and northern Italy. 

The highest peak was in the city of Bergamo in northern Italy, where excess deaths reached 847.7 percent in the week ending March 20th.

Edward Morgan, Health Analysis and Life Events at the Office for National Statistics said: “Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the first half of 2020 saw extraordinary increases in mortality rates across countries in Western Europe above the 2015 to 2019 average. 

“The highest peak excess mortality at national level was in Spain, with some local areas in Northern Italy and Central Spain having excess mortality levels as high as 847.7 percent of the average. 

“While none of the four UK nations had a peak mortality level as high as Spain or the worst-hit local areas of Spain and Italy, excess mortality was geographically widespread throughout the UK during the pandemic, whereas it was more geographically localised in most countries of Western Europe.”

When it came to comparing cities, Madrid had the highest peak level of excess deaths. 

In Madrid they reached 432.7 percent in the week ending March 27th.

 

The chart below shows overall excess death rates in cities until the end of May. Madrid had the overall largest number of excess deaths. The dotted line represents the 5-year average with the light being over 65s and the dark blue under 65s.
 
 
 
When it comes to regions, this list shows the regions around Europe that had the highest mortality rates at the peaks of their epidemics.
 
 
 
 
 
This Interactive map below shows relative age-standardised mortality rates by week in regions of Europe.
 
 

 

You can view more charts and data in the ONS report HERE.

Member comments

  1. Wondering why you don’t include Ireland too? It is part of the EU and many of us Irish are living in France and would appreciate being included in the statistics.

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HEALTH

What are the rules on IVF in Spain?

Spain has some of the best fertility clinics in Europe and people travel from all over for assisted reproduction techniques here, both because of the high success rates and standard of care, but what are the invitro fertilisation rules in Spain?

What are the rules on IVF in Spain?

Spain has the second lowest fertility rate in the EU, with an average of 1.23 children per woman, according to the latest data provided by the European Statistical Office, Eurostat, corresponding to 2019 and updated at the end of June 2021.

A report by the Spanish Fertility Society (SEF), says that more and more couples are having problems conceiving and many are choosing to undergo assisted reproductive techniques in order to become parents.  

They consider infertility as: “the inability to achieve pregnancy after one year of sexual intercourse with normal frequency and without the use of any method of conception”.

Although male infertility factors are responsible for between 25 percent to 35 percent of cases, the number of older women who want to have children in Spain is the number one issue, the society explains.

But, it’s not just Spaniards who use fertility clinics in Spain, people come from all over Europe and even further afield. A recent study by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine found that five percent of European fertility care involves patients cross border travel and that the most popular European destinations are Spain, the Czech Republic, Denmark and Belgium.

In 2019, Spanish fertility clinics carried out 18,457 treatment cycles for foreigners, the majority from France and Italy. According to Barcelona IVF, the French, English and Italian are the ones who travel the most to Spain to undergo fertility treatments.

So what are the rules on IVF and other assisted reproductive techniques in Spain? 

The In Vitro Fertilisation Law in Spain states that any woman over 18 years old can undergo reproductive techniques in Spain regardless of marital status and sexual orientation. Egg freezing for future use is also allowed.

This legal framework establishes that assisted reproductive techniques can only be used when there are possibilities of success and when they do not pose a serious risk to the health of the patient.

The IVF law in Spain does not allow for uterus transplants or the use of surrogates or gestational carriers.  

While the law has not yet incorporated any mention of ROPA techniques, this is also offered in Spain. The ROPA method is used when women in a same-sex relationship want to share parenthood, whereby one provides the egg and the other one carries the baby.

What is the law on PGD and PGS testing?

Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis or PGD is when the embryos are tested for specific inherited genetic issues such as cystic fibrosis. PGS also referred to as PGT-A is Preimplantation Genetic Screening or Testing and tests to see whether the embryo is genetically normal. The second one is typically used for women over the age of 35 or for those who have had multiple implantation failures or miscarriages.

Both types of tests are legal in Spain, however, the IVF law prohibits these tests to allow for selecting the sex of the baby or for physical characteristics. In some countries, such as the US for example, it’s very common to find out the sex of the embryo when these tests are carried out.

What are the rules for IVF in public health care?

Assisted reproduction techniques such as IVF and artificial semination are available through the public health care system in Spain, however, out of the more than 400 fertility centres in Spain only between 10 and 20 percent are public centres.

READ ALSO: Spain restores free IVF to singles, lesbians and now trans people

This means that there are also long waitlists for reproductive techniques through the public system, as well as stricter rules. According to the latest data available, wait lists for IVF are just over one year, however, in many regions, this can go up to two years or longer. In fact, waiting much longer than this is not uncommon.

The government laws establish that the maximum age to undergo these treatments in the public health system is 40 years in the case of women and 55 years for men. This age limit drops to 38 in the case of insemination with a partner’s semen.

The state guarantees a maximum of three rounds of IVF, six if it is by artificial insemination with donor sperm and four if it is with a partner’s sperm. 

Some regions in Spain, have their own rules however such as Madrid which raised the age to 45 and increased the number of rounds from two to four. 

READ ALSO: Madrid raises age limit for women to have free IVF up to 45

What are the laws on egg and sperm donations?

The In Vitro Fertilisation Law in Spain also regulates egg and sperm donation. Egg and sperm donation in Spain is anonymous, voluntary and altruistic.  

The choice of the donor will only be made by a medical team and cannot be selected by the patients, however, doctors will try to match certain physical characteristics. 

Is embryo donation/ embryo adoption legal in Spain?

Yes, according to Article 11 of the law 14/2006 embryo donation or embryo adoption as it is commonly referred to is legal in Spain. Donations must be anonymous and altruistic. 

A couple may wish to donate their embryos if they have a surplus and have already completed their family, while a couple or single woman may want to adopt an embryo if there have issues with their eggs or sperm.

What are the costs of IVF in Spain? 

IVF is a costly process when you go privately, but prices in Spain can be almost half of those you would pay in the US for example. According to the IVF Abroad Patient’s Guide 2022 for IVF using your own eggs, the costs range from €3,600 to €6,700. 

If using an egg donor, it can range from €5,900 to €8,500. For IVF using embryo donation, the costs range from €3,000 to €5,000 and for IVF involving egg freezing, the costs range from €3,500 to €4,700.

Medications for the injections are typically not included in these prices and can cost an extra €1,000 on top. 

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