A resident cares for a Coronavirus (Covid-19) patient in the intensive care unit of the Havelhoehe Community Hospital in Berlin.

International news

People aged 80 and over accounted for nearly two-thirds of Germany’s “excess mortality” attributable to the coronavirus in 2020 and 2021. Another 30 percent of these deaths were in the 60 to 79 age group. In contrast, younger age groups accounted for just 7 percent. These are the results of new calculations by the ifo Institute two years on from the start of the pandemic.

“By the end of 2021, 96,200 more people had died since the outbreak of the pandemic than would have been expected under normal circumstances. That means the number of additional deaths attributable to the pandemic is lower than previous estimates suggest,” says Joachim Ragnitz from the ifo Institute’s Dresden Branch.

In the fourth wave of the coronavirus, Germany again failed to provide sufficient protection for the older age groups. “Although many more younger people are getting infected with the coronavirus, the risk of death following infection remains much higher among older people. That’s why it’s important to take appropriate measures to prevent severe cases of the disease above all in these individuals – such as priority for a third dose of vaccine and an increase in vaccination coverage,” Ragnitz adds. “This would also take pressure off health care services, where an overload is imminent, and might help avoid the need for less targeted actions with negative economic consequences.”

The ifo figure for excess mortality also takes into account the fact that society itself is aging naturally, which entails a higher number of deaths each year. The figure also about 15 percent lower than the number of deaths associated with a Covid-19 infection as recorded by the Robert Koch Institute.