French mortality rate rose 9% in 2020 due to COVID-19

PARIS (Reuters) - France’s overall mortality rate in 2020, inflated by the COVID-19 pandemic, was nine percent higher than in the previous two years, provisional data released by statistics institute INSEE showed on Friday.

INSEE said that on Jan. 15, a total of 667,400 deaths from all causes had been registered for 2020 in France - 53,900 more than in 2019.

“Death rates in France have been marked by the COVID-19 epidemic,” INSEE said, adding that mortality data for end 2020 had not yet been transmitted to INSEE.

The institute said he higher mortality rate had impacted only people aged 65 and over, with an excess mortality rate of 10%.

While the mortality rate for people over 65 increased with age during the two Covid waves in spring and autumn, taken over the whole year, the excess death rate was the same 10 percent, for the 65-74, 75-84 and over 85 groups, INSEE said.

For people under 65, the excess mortality was just plus 2 percent for people aged 50 to 64, minus 1 percent for people aged 25 to 49 and even 6 percent less for people under 25.

Throughout 2020, the mortality rate for men was 10 percent higher and 8 percent higher for women.

During the first wave of the epidemic - which was shorter but more intense - there was excess mortality of 27,300 people, while in the second wave from Sept. 1 to Dec. 31 there were 33,000 excess deaths over four months.

These numbers include a drop in death from other causes than Covid, notably a lower death rate for people under 24 that was noticed from March 2020.

Regionally, the Ile-de-France region around Paris was hit the worst, with excess mortality rates of 90% in March-April and 18% for all of 2020.

Eastern France saw excess mortality of 55% in March-April and 13% for the whole year.

Several regions, including Brittany and the Loire region saw little or no impact from Covid on their death rates.

Reporting by Geert De Clercq; Editing by Gareth Jones, Mark Heinrich and David Gregorio