31,000 Hungarians died in March-April 2021, excess mortality 52% over 2019

Excess mortality in Hungary in March 2021 was nearly 47% over both 2020 and 2019, and reached nearly 58% in April over 2019. Nearly 31,000 people died during the peak of the third wave in the coronavirus pandemic in March-April 2021 (not just of COVID-19-related diseases!) about 52% more than in the same two months of 2019. More than 67,000 people died in the first 21 weeks of 2021, which marks an excess mortality of over 25% relative to 2020, according to updated data by the Central Statistical Office (KSH) published on Friday.

Excess mortality 58% over 2019 in April 2021

This time we put the spotlight on March and April 2021, as well as on the first 18 weeks of the year, as the stats office has revised data up to the 18th week for three times already.

As you can see in the tables below, excess mortality was around 47% in March both over 2020 and 2019, while the April figures turned out ever worse (as expected). Excess mortality on the 28 days between 29 March and 25 April was almost 58% over the same period of 2019, and nealry 48% over 2020. In March-April this year, about 50% more people died in Hungary than in the same two months of 2020 (+47%) and 2019 (+52%).

Excess mortality on the first 21 weeks was over 25%, KSH data show (see more detailed tables and charts below).

The Delta variant and Hungary's vaccination campaign

Earlier this week, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) warned that based on the available evidence, the SARS-CoV-2 Delta (B.1.617.2) variant of concern (VOC) is 40-60% more transmissible than the Alpha (Β.1.1.7) VOC and may be associated with higher risk of hospitalisation.

It is very likely that the Delta variant will circulate extensively during the summer,particularly among younger individuals that are not targeted for vaccination

, warned ECDC Director Dr. Andrea Ammon.

Hungary has recently approved vaccination (only with Pfizer-BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine Comirnaty) for minors between 12 and 15 years of age, after clearing the 16-18 age group for shots, as well.

The Hungarian government is to ease restrictions once 5.5 million people are vaccinated with at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. Linking the lifting of lockdown measures to a 'milestone' again is odd, given that this strange practice was given up already at 5 million as the vaccination campaign fizzled out, but the cabinet has a tendency to 'sell' firecrackers as H-bombs.

Once 5.5 mn people got their first jab, which 'milestone' is likely to be reached in four to five days,

  • mask-wearing will no longer be compulsory, even in indoor settings;
  • no immunity certificate will be required to enter beaches, spas, hotels, and restaurants.

Immunity certificates will be needed to attend sport events, concerts, festivals, and night clubs, announced Prime Minister Viktor Orbán's chief of staff Gergely Gulyás on Thursday.

The vaccination campaign has practically fizzled out and in the country of about 9.8 million people, the tally is unlikely to go well north of 5.5 million. With 808,000 official infections, that's not even close to the herd immunity threshold that is currently estimated at 85-90%.

Considering the relentless spread of SARS-CoV-2 in Chile despite its high vaccination coverage, and the Delta variant becoming dominant, these vaccination figures are not overly promising.


Excess mortality on the first 18 weeks

The upper section of the following tables (green header) shows data for separate weeks: the number of deaths in 2021; the weekly differences over 2020, 2019 and the average of 2015-19; and the ratios of the differences where the annual difference (for 2020, 2019 and 2015-19) is divided by the total weekly deaths of the given (base) year, not 2021. (It would have made no sense to compare 2021 to 2016-2020 because last year’s data would cause quite a distortion due to the coronavirus pandemic. Hence the comparison to 2015-19.)

The lower section (blue header) shows accumulated figures, i.e. the second week shows deaths for the second AND first weeks, the third for the 3rd, 2nd and 1st, etc. This is why the total on week 13 is the same in both tables.


Excess mortality for weeks 12 and 13 were 62% and 72%% compared to the same weeks of 2020, 84% and 85% compared to the same weeks of 2019 and around 72% compared to the 2015-2019 average of the same weeks. The stats office has revised data up to the 18th week three times.

Excess mortality in the first 18 weeks (up to 9 May) reached 29.1% over the same period of 2020 and 25.3% in the first 21 weeks.

The following tables show revisions up to week 18 between 02 June and 25 June. (Data for the 16th week have been revised twice.)

As you can see, the stats office revised the number of deaths for the 18th week upwardly by 216 or 9.2% over its 2 June data release. Total revision for the first 18 weeks reached 1,031 or 1.73%.


Here’s a more concise version of the above tables with a couple more charts to boot. (Click on image to blow it up.)

If the sharp total revision between 2 June and 25 June was not apparent enough in the tables above, the right-hand chart will make it even more obvious.


Black March and April

Excess mortality data for weeks 9 to 16, i.e. from 1 March to 25 April, show that the period between mid-March and mid-April was the deadliest relative to the same weeks of 2020, 2019 and to the 2015-19 average. This is shown also on a chart.


In this period, nearly 31,000 people have died, against cc. 21,000 last year, 20, 370 in 2019 and 21,000 on average between 2015 and 2019.


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