Nearly 20,000 more Australians died last year in a toll not seen since World War II, according to a study that blamed Covid for the rise.
However, there was some criticism of the Institute of Actuaries’ findings, with some questioning whether the thousands of deaths were due to measures introduced to fight the pandemic, such as draconian lockdowns, which kept Australians from seeking medical care for illnesses. stopped the
The increase in the number of deaths in 2022 compared with expert predictions was 12 percent, or more than the 19,800 deaths predicted, if not for the pandemic, the institute analyzed.
This total excess death rate has not been seen since World War I, when Australia lost 34,000 service personnel.
Analysis by the Institute of Actuaries found that the total excess mortality in 2022 – or the increase in the number of deaths compared to what experts predicted – was 12 per cent, which equates to around 20,000 deaths.
Karen Cutter, a spokeswoman for the institute’s COVID-19 mortality working group, said the figures were extraordinary.
“This is not within the normal level of volatility in non-pandemic times,” she said.
‘Covid-19 accounts for about half of this excess, and we are also seeing a significant amount of excess mortality that is not recorded on death certificates as due to Covid-19.’
More than half the additional deaths (around 10,300) for 2022 were directly attributed to COVID-19, a working group analysis of the latest provisional mortality data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics found.
The data, which was published on Monday, showed that a further 2,900 deaths were also contributed by COVID-19.
For the remaining 6,600 additional deaths, the virus was not mentioned on the death certificates of those people.
Deaths from COVID-19 peaked in the last week of July, then trended downward through late October before rising throughout November and December.
The institute believes that the 6,600 additional deaths that are not due to COVID-19 are still partly due to the impact of the pandemic.
Of these, there were 1,500 fewer deaths due to respiratory causes and 8,100 additional deaths due to other non-COVID-19 causes.
Ms Cutter said the institute believes the pandemic still played a role in many of these deaths, with three main causes.
“First, the mortality rate following an acute Covid infection is high, and most Australians now have COVID-19,” she said.
‘Secondly, people have not been able to access medical care when they needed it, either due to inability (in emergency situations) or fear/lack of opportunity (thus missing routine care earlier in the pandemic).
‘After all, some of these deaths may be undiagnosed COVID-19 deaths.’
The institute’s analysis found that the effect of lifestyle changes influenced by the pandemic – for example drinking more alcohol or getting less exercise – was small on these unexplained excess deaths, while the effect of vaccine-related deaths was negligible.
Ms Cutter said older age groups had a higher percentage of deaths than younger age groups and women had higher mortality rates than men in those younger age groups.
The Institute of Actuaries outlines the possible causes of the 6,600 unexplained deaths in the graphic above
All causes of respiratory, excess deaths were much higher than anticipated, she said.
Ischemic heart disease, which can lead to heart attack, diabetes and ‘others’ were particularly high.
Apart from the Northern Territory, all states and territories had roughly the same level of excess deaths during the year – between 10-15 per cent.
While most of the excess deaths were in older age groups, such as over 65s, a significant percentage of excess deaths occurred in all age groups in 2022.
Allayne Grace, chief executive of the Institute of Actuaries, said: ‘These figures are a stark reminder of the tremendous impact of COVID-19 across Australia.
‘While people have largely moved on with their lives beyond the lockdown and border closures, the fact remains that COVID-19 is a significant contributor to the majority of excess mortality.’
But some criticized the Institute of Actuaries’ findings.
The Australian’s Washington correspondent Adam Creighton tweeted: ‘Not a single extra death in Australia (19,800 in 2022) had anything to do with the lockdown or mandatory vaccinations: [according to the] Australian Institute of Actuaries,’ along with the crying with laughing emoji.
He said: ‘Deaths not due to Covid probably due to Covid’ followed by another crying with a laughing emoji, criticizing the idea that public health interventions implemented to contain the disease lead to excess deaths do not take any responsibility for.
Mr Creighton has been a frequent critic of the Australian Government’s response to the lockdown and COVID-19.
In an article for The Australian in 2021 ‘What if lockdowns don’t work?’ He wrote: ‘On the long list of disappointments thrown up by the pandemic, the failure of economists to denounce irrational, destructive policies fueled by media-induced fear must be high.’