site.btaBulgaria Loses 860,000 Years of Potential Life to COVID-19

Bulgaria Loses 860,000 Years of Potential Life to COVID-19
Bulgaria Loses 860,000 Years of Potential Life to COVID-19
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Bulgarians lost at least 860,000 years of potential life in the two years of the COVID-19 pandemic. Years of potential life lost (YPLL) is an estimate of the average years a person would have lived if they had not died prematurely (in this case, from COVID-19). Bulgaria has the world's highest number of COVID-related YPLL per capita. The data are contained in an expert report commissioned by the Bulgarian government about COVID-19 mortality in the country between March 2020 and May 2022. The news website Dnevnik.bg has received a copy of the report under the Access to Public Information Act.

The world's highest excess mortality

The study shows that Bulgaria had the world's second-highest COVID-19 mortality per 1 million population after Peru, and the highest excess mortality. Excess mortality shows how the number of deaths from all causes during the COVID-19 pandemic compared to the deaths we would have expected had the pandemic not occurred. However, it is impossible to say whether this position in the ranking was due to the kind of therapy that was applied.

The experts found that mortality among people vaccinated against COVID-19 was 20% lower than among unvaccinated individuals. In the first year of the pandemic, one patient in five received treatment in a hospital, but intensive care units did not experience a bed shortage.

The report was compiled by a working group formed by a February 2022 order of Asena Serbezova, health minister in the latest regular government. The group was chaired by Dr Ani Kevorkyan, who heads the Epidemiology and Emergency Medicine Department of the Medical University of Plovdiv. It also included representatives of the National Centre of Infectious and Parasitic Diseases, the National Centre of Public Health and Analyses, and the Information Services Company.

The report uses data on all COVID-19 patients (1,126,945) officially registered in Bulgaria by March 2022 as well as those who were hospitalized and those who succumbed to the disease. The study shows that the average age of COVID-19-infected persons was 48 years during the reporting period. The disease practically affected people of all ages, from 0 to 109 years. This also applies to the COVID-19 fatalities (36,192), whose average age was 71.5 years.

Far above EU levels

From the beginning of March 2020 until April 10, 2022, Bulgaria had 36,700 registered COVID-19 deaths, which was about 5,500 deaths per 1 million population. Over the same period, there were 69,000 excess deaths, equivalent to a little more than 1% of the country's population, or 10,400 cases per 1 million population.

Excess mortality is considered the most precise indicator about the pandemic victims, direct and indirect, because in addition to the officially registered COVID-19 deaths we should also take into account unregistered COVID-19 fatalities and people who died as a result of untimely treatment of other diseases in an overstretched healthcare system, the report says.

It also concludes that every COVID-19 death in the country caused the loss of 12.6 years of life on average. The average age of men who died from the pandemic was 69 to 70 years, and that of women was about 74 years.

Bulgaria's loss of 11,500 years of life per 100,000 population far surpassed the levels in such countries as France, Portugal, the Netherlands, Austria, Belgium, Slovenia, Italy and Spain, where the numbers varied from 1,700 to 3,000 years.

Highest mortality since 1945

While the share of women infected with COVID-19 (53.8%) was higher than that of men, deaths from the disease were more common among men (55.2%). There is no indisputable scientific explanation about why the infection of men involved a higher risk of death, the experts say.

In 2021, Bulgaria recorded its highest total mortality rate since 1945. The analysis cites data from the National Statistical Institute which show that out of 124,735 deaths in 2020, seven per cent (8,554) were caused by COVID-19. The total number of deaths increased by 16,652 compared with 2019.

The report highlights the well-known fact that Bulgaria has the lowest COVID-19 immunization coverage in Europe, with a little over 30% of Bulgarians having a complete vaccination schedule. Unvaccinated people account for 87.22% of those who have tested positive for the disease. Among those who died from the infection, 92.95% were unvaccinated. This indicates that the vaccines work, even though they are often avoided, the experts say.

/VE/

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By 06:40 on 28.01.2023 Today`s news

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