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9. Coronavirus disease caused the death of every one hundred people

In 2020, every one hundred deaths in Finland were caused by the covid-19 virus infection, or the coronavirus disease. A total of 558 persons died of the coronavirus disease, 282 of whom were men and 276 women. In addition, Covid-19 virus infection contributed to the death of 72 persons other than as the primary cause of death in the statistics.

The majority of those dying of coronavirus disease were aged. Nearly 90 per cent were aged 70 or over and 25 per cent had turned 90. Most deaths occurred in the age group aged 85 to 89. Among those dying of Covid-19 virus infection, 42 were aged under 65 years. No persons aged under 20 died of the coronavirus disease, the youngest person who died belonged to the 20 to 24 age group and the oldest was aged over 100 (Figure 16).

Men dying of Covid-19 virus infection were younger than women. Nearly nine out of ten persons that died of coronavirus disease aged under 65 were men. By contrast, two out of three persons aged over 85 who died of the coronavirus disease were women. The median age of those dying of Covid-19 was 84 years, 80 years for men and 87 years for women.

Figure 16. Deaths due to COVID-19 by sex and age in 2020

Figure 16. Deaths due to COVID-19 by sex and age in 2020

In Finland the first deaths caused by the Covid-19 virus infection occurred in March 2020. More than one-third of the deaths from the coronavirus disease in 2020 occurred in April, when 200 persons died from it. In May the number of deaths was 86, but in summer months only a few persons died of the coronavirus disease. The number of deaths made an upturn again towards the end of the year. December was the second darkest month of the year when 158 persons died of covid-19 virus infection (Figure 17).

Figure 17. Deaths due to COVID-19 by month in 2020

Figure 17. Deaths due to COVID-19 by month in 2020

In absolute numbers, most deaths caused by the covid19 virus infection were recorded in 2020 in Uusimaa (372 deaths), Southwest Finland (27), Pirkanmaa (22) and Central Finland (22). Relative to 100,000 inhabitants, coronavirus disease mortality was also highest in Uusimaa (21.9). The second highest mortality from the disease caused by the coronavirus was recorded in South Savo (14.2) and the third highest in Lapland (10.7). Mortality from the coronavirus disease in the whole country was 10.1 in 2020. There were no deaths from the coronavirus disease in Central Ostrobothnia and land.

Statistics Finland's statistics on causes of death are based on death certificates written by physicians. The World Health Organization (WHO) instructs the physician to report Covid-19 on death certificates as the primary cause of death when the death has been directly caused by the coronavirus that causes the Covid-19 disease. Covid-19 becomes the primary cause of death for the statistics if it is recorded on death certificates as a disease resulting in death.

If a person with Covid-19 virus infection has died of some other disease or injury, Covid-19 can also be a contributing cause of death on death certificates. Covid-19 virus infections recorded as contributing causes of death on death certificates are not included in deaths caused by the coronavirus disease in the cause of death statistics.

In 2020, Covid-19 virus infection was mentioned as a contributing cause of death on 72 death certificates. Most of these 72 persons had multiple diseases. The underlying cause of death for around 40 per cent of them was memory disease. For one in four the primary cause of death was cardio or vascular disease and for one in five cancer.

A separate code for the identification of deaths caused by Covid-19 virus infection is used for laboratory-confirmed cases (ICD10 code U07.1) and for not laboratory-confirmed cases (ICD10 code U07.2). According to WHO's guidelines, both laboratory-confirmed and unconfirmed deaths are included in the statistics on deaths from Covid-19.

Most deaths recorded on death certificates caused by Covid-19 virus infection are laboratory-confirmed. In 2020, there were 32 deaths caused by not laboratory-confirmed Covid-19 infection. Nearly all of these death certificates were issued at the early stage of the epidemic, when testing was only starting. In some cases, code U07.2 has been used when a person permanently resident in Finland has died abroad and the Finnish death certificate was written on the basis of foreign documents.


Source: Causes of death, Statistics Finland

Inquiries: Airi Pajunen 029 551 3605, Kati Taskinen 029 551 3648, Jari Hellanto 029 551 3291, kuolemansyyt@stat.fi

Head of Department in charge: Hannele Orjala


Updated 10.12.2021

Referencing instructions:

Official Statistics of Finland (OSF): Causes of death [e-publication].
ISSN=1799-5078. 2020, 9. Coronavirus disease caused the death of every one hundred people . Helsinki: Statistics Finland [referred: 4.7.2022].
Access method: http://www.stat.fi/til/ksyyt/2020/ksyyt_2020_2021-12-10_kat_009_en.html