Monitoring the mortality impact of COVID-19 in Europe: What can be learned from 2009 influenza H1N1p mortality studies?
Taylor, Robert J.
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Objectives: Understanding the proportion of pandemic deaths captured as “laboratoryconfirmed” deaths is crucial. We assessed the ability of laboratory-confirmed deaths to capture mortality in the EU during the 2009 pandemic, and examined the likelihood that these findings are applicable to the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. Methods: We present unpublished results from the Global Pandemic Mortality (GLaMOR) project, in which country-specific mortality estimates were made for the 2009 influenza H1N1p pandemic. These estimates were compared to laboratory-confirmed deaths during the 2009 pandemic to estimate the ability of surveillance systems to capture pandemic mortality. Results: For the 2009 influenza H1N1p pandemic, we estimated that the proportion of true pandemic deaths captured by laboratory-confirmed deaths was approximately 67%. Several differences (e.g. age groups affected) between the two pandemics make it unlikely that this capture rate will be equally high for SARS-CoV-2. Conclusion: The surveillance of laboratory-confirmed deaths in the EU during the 2009 pandemic was more accurate than previously assumed. We hypothesize that this method is less reliable for SARS-CoV-2. Near-real-time excess all-cause mortality estimates, routinely compiled by EuroMOMO, probably form a better indicator of pandemic mortality. We urge more countries to join this project and that national level absolute mortality numbers are presented.
Link to resourcehttps://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijid.2020.10.037
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