Portugal registers more than 5,500 deaths in the first two weeks of the year


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Portugal recorded 5,542 deaths in the first two weeks of 2024, the start of the year in which the most people died since 2021, during the worst phase of the covid-19 pandemic in the country, according to official figures.

The Death Certificates Information System (SICO) shows that 513 people died on New Year’s Day, a figure that has never been reached on January 1st in the last 10 years.

According to the information published on the SICO website, from the first day of the year until today mortality has remained “much higher than expected”.

On January 2, 551 people died, a figure not seen for the same day since 2017, when 578 deaths were recorded.

In the first four days of 2024, 2,119 deaths were recorded. In the last ten years, there have never been more than two thousand deaths in that period. Not even in 2021, the year marked by the pandemic.

SICO also records that in the last seven days there have been 638 excess deaths. An excess death is one that is higher than expected by the authorities for the same day.

Excess mortality has been recorded since Christmas Day 2023, with 37.4% higher than expected on January 1st, 47.4% on January 2nd, 43.3% on January 3rd and 38.6% on January 4th, the most critical days.

Over the last seven days, the system has recorded an average excess mortality rate of around 24%, with a total of 3,291 deaths.

Between January 1st and today, the majority of deaths were due to natural causes, with an average of 413 deaths per day. The average number of deaths from external causes is 1.5 and 586 are under investigation.

The data provided by SICO is updated automatically at 10-minute intervals, providing health administrators, public health authorities and health planners with up-to-date information on mortality in Portugal, by geographical area, major groups of causes of death and age group.

Portugal is the country with the highest excess of deaths in the first week of 2024 among the 25 that make up the European EuroMOMO network, which calculates mortality figures for member countries on a weekly basis.

The data consulted by Lusa reveals that Portugal is the only member of EuroMOMO with a “very high excess”.

Hospitalizations for influenza in Intensive Care Units fell in the first week of the year to 11.7% compared to the Christmas and New Year period, according to the Bulletin of Epidemiological Surveillance of Influenza and other Respiratory Viruses from the National Health Institute Doutor Ricardo Jorge (INSA).

In the week of January 1st to 7th this year, “the proportion of flu in ICUs [Intensive Care Units] was 11.7%, lower than in the previous week”.

The document states that the proportion of flu in ICUs increased between weeks 50 and 52 of 2023 (Christmas and New Year), when it reached 17.1%, a figure higher than that recorded in previous periods (maximum proportion of 13.5% in the 2013-2014 season).

The number of new hospitalizations for RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus) infection in children under 24 months in the sentinel surveillance network has shown a downward trend in recent weeks.

Since October 2023, 340 cases of RSV hospitalization have been reported by the hospitals that are part of the surveillance network.

According to the same data, all-cause mortality has been higher than expected since the end of last year and in age groups over 45.

On the international scene, up until the end of last year, the incidence rates of acute respiratory infections and flu-like illness in the community were on an upward trend in Europe.

Moti Shabi
Moti Shabi
Moti Shabi

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