How comparable is COVID-19 mortality across countries?

Cross-Country Analysis


How comparable is COVID-19 mortality across countries?

Surveillance and monitoring systems are central to governments’ responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. This article focuses on assessing differences in mortality recording across countries and over time, to inform country comparisons.

We show that variations in definitions, testing policies and changes over time affect international and intra-country comparability. Estimating excess deaths is therefore increasingly used to monitor the impact of COVID-19, with early evidence showing a major increase in excess mortality in countries most affected. Enhanced monitoring of the impact of COVID-19 on mortality using multiple data sources, with data published in a timely and accessible manner, is thus important. Full article here