The Economist magazine has ranked Serbia 5th on a list of countries whose death rates exceeded predictions based on figures from the past few years.
The Economist explained that one way to account for methodological problems in calculating pandemic deaths is to use a measure known as “excess deaths”: take the number of people who die from any cause in a given region and period, and then compare it with a historical baseline from recent years. “We have used statistical models to create our baselines, by predicting the number of deaths each region would normally have recorded in 2020 and 2021,” it said.
According to the Economist, the excess number of deaths in Serbia in the period between April 1 and June 30 stands at 30,210 while the number of reported COVID-19 deaths is 7,030.
It said that the total number of fatalities caused by the pandemic may be much higher than official government figures because official statistics in many countries exclude victims who did not test positive before dying. Another reason is that hospitals and civil registries may not process death certificates for several days, or even weeks and the pandemic has made it harder for doctors to treat other conditions and discouraged people from going to hospitals, which may have indirectly caused an increase in fatalities from diseases other than covid-19.
Serbian epidemiologist Dr Predrag Kon spoke of the discrepancy in figures almost a year ago. He blamed the discrepancies on database operators who released incorrect figures and doctors who did not register all COVID-related deaths.
Fellow doctor and head of the Doctors and Pharmacists Union, Rade Panic told N1 that he is convinced that the authorities are keeping the real death figures secret so that they can say that they have the situation under control.
All those claims can be verified with a look at the figures released by the State Statistics Office (RZS) on the number of deaths in December 2020 which was 6,805 more than the 10 year average for deaths in that month. The Public Health Institute said that 1,646 people died of COVID that month. According to the RZS figures, the number of deaths between April 1 and December 31, 2020 is 15,372 more than in the same period a year earlier and 13,069 more than the 10-year average.
This post is also available in: Italiano