Excess deaths: Israel’s grim virus toll

As Israel slowly exits its second lockdown, there hasn’t really been time to take stock of how bad things got.

One of the common claims of the conspiracy theorists and deniers is that the coronavirus isn’t really killing anyone, or at least not nearly as many people as the official figures claim. These people say that hospitals are deliberately inflating death tolls, blaming every respiratory or elderly death on the virus even when there is no test, no proof and no connection.

I’ve heard many Israeli sceptics saying that there are no excess deaths; no more people passed away than normal, so perhaps the numbers are all fake?

The data released by the Central Bureau of Statistics shows a grimmer picture.

source: Israel CBS

The CBS reports on all deaths by calendar week. I looked at week 38 to week 43, six weeks that cover 14 September—25 October this year, the latest data that the CBS has published. I also looked at the same six weeks back to 2014.

As you can see, this year stands out sharply, with about 1350 more deaths than we might expect, excess deaths of around 28%.

If we compare these figures with the reported Covid-19 deaths as published by the Health Ministry, we find that they’re actually very close.

The Health Ministry reported 1278 Covid-19 deaths in the 42 days from 14 September to 25 October.

This suggests, again, that the hospitals and healthcare system is doing an accurate job when it comes to coronavirus casualties. In many other countries, excess deaths have been far higher than the official death toll.

But equally, it should squash the lies of the conspiracy theorists.


I’ve been distracted with the US election these last couple of weeks.

What would you want me to write about next? I can do more about the domestic politics of the virus response, or some general roundups on international news and vaccine development, or even go WAY off-base and talk US politics that isn’t Coronavirus-related.

Leave your thoughts or suggestions in the comments.

One thought to “Excess deaths: Israel’s grim virus toll”

  1. Arieh, You are a star.
    Can you make sure you always have a link to the latest guidelines somewhere on here? I realise they haven’t changed recently but I forget certain details and it would be useful.

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