In 2020, there were 7,125 deaths due to COVID-19 disease, representing 5.8% of all deaths in the country and the second leading cause of death in the year. This result takes into account the number of deaths in which the underlying cause of death, that is, the disease that initiated the chain of pathological events that led to death, was the disease COVID-19. The crude mortality rate from this disease was 69.0 deaths per 100,000 residents in Portugal, higher for men (76.4 per 100,000 men) than for women (62.5 per 100,000 women), while the average age at death was higher for women (83.4 years) than for men (79.9 years). 64.0% of deaths caused by COVID-19 (4,558 deaths) occurred in November and December 2020; in April and October there were 11.9% and 9.1% of all deaths from COVID-19 respectively.
Diseases of the circulatory system continued to be at the origin of the highest number of deaths in Portugal in 2020 (34,593), with an increase of 2.9% in relation to the previous year. Nevertheless, in relative terms, they accounted for 28.0% of all deaths, 1.9 pp less than in the previous year and 1.0 pp less than in 2018. Among deaths by these diseases, deaths from strokes stood out (11,439), with an increase of 4.2% compared to the previous year. On the other hand, there were fewer deaths due to ischaemic heart disease (6,838 deaths) and acute myocardial infarction (4,086 deaths), in both cases 4.4% less than in 2019.
Diseases of the respiratory system, which do not include the COVID-19 disease in accordance with the World Health Organization’s definition for ICD-10 classification, caused 11,266 deaths, 8.0% less than in 2019, and represented 9.1% of the total mortality in the country (1.8 pp less than in 2019 and 2.6 pp less than in 2018). In this group of diseases, deaths caused by pneumonia stood out, with 4,359 deaths, repersenting 3.5% of mortality in 2020 (4.2% in 2019 and 5.1% in 2018) and a 7.3% decrease in deaths compared to the previous year.
In 2020, there were 4,318 deaths from malignant neoplasms of the trachea, bronchus and lung, 2.0% less than in the previous year, representing 3.5% of all deaths in the country (3.9% in 2019 and 3.8% in 2018). Malignant neoplasms of the colon, rectum and anus accounted for 3.1% of mortality in 2020 (3.4% in the previous two years), with 3,810 deaths.