Global Study Shows Jews Were Affected by Covid-19 Worse than Non-Jews in First Wave

Global Study Shows Jews Were Affected by Covid-19 Worse than Non-Jews in First Wave

By Jewish Press News Desk – 17 Kislev 5781 – December 3, 2020 0Share on FacebookTweet on Twitter


Photo Credit: Flash90

Orthodox Jews pray outdoors, keeping a 6 ft. distance, September 27, 2020.

Jews in parts of the United Kingdom, Sweden, Italy and Belgium were particularly badly affected during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, with communities in London, Manchester, Scotland, Stockholm, Milan and Brussels showing unusually high mortality levels at that time.

Jewish mortality rates were noticeably higher than among non-Jews in all of these places during the March to May 2020 period, and at least twice as high as might normally be expected at that time of year. However, other communities – in selected parts of Germany, as well as Rome, Vienna, Budapest and Melbourne – showed little or no excess mortality at all, and in many cases appear to have fared slightly better than the non-Jewish populations around them. In Israel too, mortality rates were normal at this time.Advertisement

In between these two poles, several other Jewish communities – Paris, Strasbourg, Amsterdam, Antwerp, Toronto, Montreal and Florida – had somewhat elevated mortality rates, but not at the levels seen in the worst affected areas, and at similar rates to those found among the wider populations living around them. The data on Jews in New York were somewhat anomalous – there was significant excess mortality, but at a much lower rate than among others in the city.

These are some of the findings in a new study published today by researchers from the Institute for Jewish Policy Research’s European Jewish Demography Unit, titled COVID-19 mortality and Jews: a global overview of the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic, March to May 2020.

The study, which draws on data from Jewish burial societies all over the world and utilises the excess mortality method to assess the impact of COVID-19 (i.e. the extent to which the number of deaths observed in a given population at a given point in time deviate from the norm) finds no common pattern among Jewish populations. Indeed, report authors Dr Daniel Staetsky from JPR and Dr Ari Paltiel from Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics, conclude that Jewish mortality patterns during the first wave largely followed the patterns seen in the areas in which they live.

Staetsky and Paltiel also caution against speculation about why Jews were disproportionately affected in some places, but rule out two candidate explanations: that Jewish populations with particularly elderly age profiles were hardest hit, or that Jews have been badly affected due to any underlying health issue common among them. They consider the possibility that Jewish lifestyle effects (e.g. above average size families, convening in large groups for Jewish rituals and holidays), may have been an important factor in certain instances, noting that these are unambiguous risk factors in the context of communicable diseases. While they suggest that the spread of the virus among Jews “may have been enhanced by intense social contact,” they argue that without accurate quantification, this explanation for elevated mortality in certain places remains unproven.

The report also includes a strongly worded preface from Hebrew University Professor Sergio DellaPergola, the Chair of the JPR European Jewish Demography Unit, and the world’s leading expert in Jewish demography. In it, he expresses disappointment at “critical shortcomings in the measurement of the incidence and spread of the virus” in many countries, including Israel, which provided a “grossly inadequate basis for assessing the variable patterns of the epidemic and the policies to be adopted to counteract it.” He further highlights the importance of systematically testing representative samples of the population at the national and local levels, and, in Jewish community contexts, of routinely gathering Jewish population vital statistics. He states: “If there is one lesson for Jewish community research that emerges out of this crisis it is that the routine gathering of vital statistics – the monitoring of deaths, as well as births, marriages, divorces, conversions, immigrants and emigrants – is one of the fundamental responsibilities community bodies must take.”

Commenting on the report’s findings, JPR Executive Director, Dr Jonathan Boyd, said: “By focusing on Jews in many different parts of the world, this report offers a unique perspective on the incidence and spread of the virus that is designed not only to help community leaders shape their responses to the ongoing challenges, but also to make a contribution to epidemiological research. The pandemic has laid bare the critical importance of thoughtful, systematic data collection and analysis, and we remain steadfastly committed to that goal.”Advertisement



Previous articleRav Eliyahu Celebrates Assassination Of Top Iranian ScientistNext articlePandemic ParentingJewish Press News brings you the latest in Jewish news from around the world. Stay up to date by following up on Facebook and Twitter. Do you have something noteworthy to report? Submit your news story to us here.



Report: Russia Will Vaccinate Minks to Prevent Coronavirus Mutations


Major Medical Journal Editor Cautions: Pfizer Vaccine Not a Magic Bullet, Misinformation May Pose Serious Threat to Public Health


Denmark to Destroy 15 Million Minks with Mutated Coronavirus that Could Endanger Future Vaccines

Popular in the Community

Conversation2 CommentsLog InSort by Best

  • Lorensacho Byzantine1 day agoI would explain this by suggesting that religious Jews have lost their critical thinking skills are unequipped to deal with the hazards of life.Reply
    • jasperbeardleyLorensacho Byzantine7 hours agoThat’s a silly generalization. While all groups of people have some that can’t critically think, the most likely factor was close contact (Purim and Shabbat) with high viral load transmission.Reply

Powered byTermsPrivacyFeedback


IDF & Security

Gulf States, Saudis, Crave Israel’s Iron Dome, Arab Media Reveal

IDF & Security

Israel Preparing for Iranian Retaliation, Biden Says He Won’t Allow Iran to Get Nukes

Latest News Stories

Palestinian Authority

PA Angry at Czech Republic’s Plan to Open Diplomatic Office in Jerusalem

Left vs. Right

Ilhan Omar, Bernie Sanders on a Crusade to Punish the Rich

IDF & Security

Gulf States, Saudis, Crave Israel’s Iron Dome, Arab Media Reveal

IDF & Security

Israel Preparing for Iranian Retaliation, Biden Says He Won’t Allow Iran to Get Nukes


Israeli Doctors Enter Gaza to Treat Emergency Cases, Bring COVID-19 Meds


New York, New Jersey Govs Say ‘Mask Up!’ as COVID-19 Infections Skyrocket Again


News Briefs

News Briefs

Senator Ted Cruz: Seeks to Designate The Muslim Brotherhood as a Terrorist Organization


Hamas Test-Fires Rocket into Mediterranean

Sponsored Post

Sderot HaYovel: Quality Housing in Central Jerusalem is Within Reach

Sponsored PostsHadassah Bay

Recommended Today


Perfect Chanukah Gift: Harmless Jewish Men Wall Calendar 2021

Eye on “Palestine”

Peter Beinart Defends Tlaib’s Assault on Jewish State, ‘Gets’ Why Jews Are Frightened


Global Study Shows Jews Were Affected by Covid-19 Worse than Non-Jews in First Wave


Biden Team’s Blind Spot on Terror

Something Random from the Week

Knesset Diaspora Committee Zoom-Meets UAE Jewish Leaders on Accommodating 10K Israeli Tourists Every Month

The KnessetJewish Press News Desk

ABOUT – Bringing you the news from Israel and the Jewish World

© The Jewish Press 2020. All Rights Reserved.

This site is supported by

Social media & sharing icons powered by UltimatelySocial

Enjoy this blog? Please spread the word :)

Follow by Email
Scroll to Top