Mortuary technicians. | Pere Bota


The Balearic Islands had an excess mortality in 2020 of 4.85 percent due to COVID-19, according to information provided by the National Institute of Statistics (INE). Specifically, the average number of deaths in the Balearic Islands during the last five years (between 2015 and 2019) is 8,163, while 8,559 people from the Islands lost their lives in 2020. In March 2020 when the coronavirus pandemic began and caused an increase in deaths. Spain's excess mortality in that year was much higher, specifically 17 percent.

The specialist in Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Joan Carles March, explained that "the fact that the Balearic Islands are an island means that mortality has been lower than in more populated provinces or autonomous communities. And that is an aspect that should have been basic and fundamental in the whole management of the pandemic. I have always thought that the islands have advantages to obtain good results. It is true that the influence of tourism and the influx of people from different places may be an aspect that does not make it easier, but being islands is an element that favors good management".

If analysed by municipalities of the Balearic Islands, more than half had increased mortality in 2020, compared to the average of the last five years. Estellencs has the highest excess mortality of the Balearic Islands in percentage terms; exactly 50 percent. However, the numbers are skewed because of its small population. Specifically, in 2020 three people died, while the average for the last five years is five. Estellencs is followed by Esporles, with an excess mortality of 33.14 percent; Capdepera (32.39 percent) and Son Servera (32.27 percent).

In the case of Palma, which represents practically half the population of the Islands, the excess mortality rate is 8.02 percent; above the average for the Balearic Islands. March pointed out that "excess mortality was higher in large cities, where most of the population resides. At national level, in municipalities with more than 50,000 inhabitants there were 21.8 percent more deaths than the average of the previous five years, while in those with less than 2,500 the figure falls to 12.5 percent, almost half". He added that "what we have seen in Spain as a whole is that the most affected municipalities have been those around Madrid, followed by cities located near large cities or provincial capitals.

Municipalities with fewer deaths, despite COVID-19

On the other hand, 44.77 percent of the municipalities of the Islands had fewer deaths in 2020 than the average of the last five years, despite the COVID-19. Sóller, Calvià, Llucmajor and Sa Pobla are some of the municipalities in which fewer people died, despite being quite affected. In the case of Sóller, it is worth remembering the outbreaks that occurred in its old people's home; while in Sa Pobla massive screening had to be carried out to control the virus.

The specialist in Public Health and Preventive Medicine concludes that "analysing the excess mortality in the first year of the pandemic is important because it gives clues as to how it has been managed in that community. The Balearic Islands has given excellent figures in 2020, compared with communities such as Madrid, Castilla-La Mancha, Castilla y León or Aragón. Specifically, there were 60,358 deaths due to confirmed coronaviruses and 14,481 with symptoms compatible with the disease.