What is the impact of coronavirus?
2020 will above all be remembered as the year in which the coronavirus crisis erupted. What started as a medical emergency soon became a crisis affecting many aspects of life. The all-embracing effect of the pandemic and the measures taken to combat it are clearly evident from the Well-being in times of coronavirus dashboard launched by CBS.
A great deal happened all at once following the partial lockdown in March. A number of sectors were closed down, while in others employees started working from home in huge numbers. Public transport was largely avoided, and road traffic also declined sharply. Air traffic had already been grounded. Registered crime decreased and far fewer marriages and partnerships were entered into than was usual for springtime. The economy experienced an unprecedented contraction.
In the Netherlands we are now in the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic. The medical emergency is not over, nor is the economic one. Several areas of life had already sprung back to former levels by the end of the summer, such as registered crime and the number of marriages and registered partnerships. However, this was by no means the case for other areas, such as air traffic or total consumption. Furthermore, the second wave,
and the measures taken to combat it, are already affecting various aspects of life. For example, the number of people boarding public transport this summer was already close to 2019 levels, but is once more far below that. For some time, the roads were almost as busy as they had been in 2019, but that situation is again receding further and further away.
Mortality higher than in 2018
Every year more people die in winter than in the other seasons, especially when there is a flu epidemic. In 2018, the flu epidemic lasted as long as eighteen weeks. At that time, over 9 thousand more people died than normal for that period. This is referred to as ‘excess mortality’.
In the first nine weeks of the current coronavirus pandemic, it is estimated that the excess mortality amounted to almost 9 thousand people. Cause-of-death certificates show that the excess mortality in this period was entirely caused by COVID-19. The excess mortality is therefore about the same as during the flu epidemic in 2018, but the number of deaths was reached in only half the time. Measures were also taken to limit contact between people. Furthermore, the coronavirus pandemic has not yet run its course. Since the end of September we have again been seeing excess mortality, coinciding with the second wave in the Netherlands. Total mortality in the first ten months of 2020 is much higher than in the same months in previous years. Compared to 2018, the difference amounted to 8.5 thousand.
|1) To show only full weeks, weeks 1, 52 and 53 are not included.|
Economy hit unusually hard
The economy has been especially hard hit by the fight against the coronavirus. After a contraction by 1.7 percent in the first quarter, the Dutch economy shrank by 8.5 percent in the second quarter, relative to the previous quarter. This was the most severe contraction ever recorded. These two quarters of contraction have wiped out five years of economic growth.
Compared to other European countries, however, the Dutch economy got off lightly. The German economy shrank by 9.7 percent in the second quarter, the Belgian economy by 12.1 percent and the French economy by 13.8 percent. Within the European Union, the Spanish economy was hit hardest, with a contraction of 17.8 percent in the second quarter. Finland was the least affected. But the Finnish economy also shrank, by 4.4 percent. The graph of GDP development from 2017 onwards clearly shows how unprecedented the situation is. The fluctuations in the quarterly development and the differences between countries before 2020 pale into insignificance when compared to what came afterwards. The first two quarters of 2020 saw an exceptional contraction, one which differed greatly from country to country.
|Adjusted for seasonal influences and any working-day effects.|