AMSTERDAM, July 27 (Reuters) - Wealthy, middle-aged people died in greater than average numbers at the start of the Dutch coronavirus outbreak, the country’s statistics office said on Monday, while later those from immigrant backgrounds died at a disproportionate rate. The greater proportion of wealthy older people who died in March may reflect a higher likelihood of exposure during winter sports, “an activity mostly not attainable for people with a smaller pocketbook”, the study, by the Central Bureau for Statistics, said. The bureau published its findings after studying death certificates in the Netherlands from the March 9 to April 19 period, when cases rose to a peak before quickly declining. Deaths were 40% higher than would usually have been expected over that period, the agency estimated, with 7,260 more people dying than would normally have been anticipated.
Health authorities formally registered 4,158 people as having died from the virus in that period.
Over the whole period, older people and men were more likely to die, as has been observed in most countries during the pandemic.
It said that disproportionate deaths among people with a “migration background” in April, including both first and second generation Western and non-Western immigrants, could have several causes.
“Risk factors for a poor COVID-19 prognosis prevail in some (immigrant) groups,” the study said, citing diabetes, obesity and hypertension among Dutch Asians, Africans and Antilleans.
“One should also consider problems for groups that don’t speak Dutch well in accessing information and healthcare.”
Coronavirus cases are rising in the Netherlands after lockdown restrictions were eased and adherence to social distancing measures lessened.
On Monday the National Institute for Health (RIVM) reported 205 new cases, up from fewer than 100 on most days in early July. (Reporting by Toby Sterling; Editing by Jan Harvey)