In the first few months of 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic had resulted in the death of hundreds of Australians. Now, the Actuaries Institute wants to find out if the total of deaths in Australia – whether caused by the pandemic or other factors – up to July 28 had decreased.
The Actuaries Institute's “Update on Mortality in Australia” report, which was prepared by the institute's COVID-19 Working Group, has revealed that doctor-certified deaths throughout June and July were generally significantly lower than predicted because the usual winter “hump” did not occur.
“There have also been substantial reductions in deaths from dementia and ‘other causes’ (being those not specifically reported on in the ABS data). Deaths from these causes usually increase in winter (but haven't increased this year), and we suspect that this reflects the stress that respiratory illness circulating in a normal winter can place on those with existing conditions,” said authors Karen Cutter, Richard Lyon, and Jennifer Lang.
However, deaths skyrocketed in the last week of July, with 55 doctor-certified deaths from COVID-19 – up from 17 the week before.
Deaths from dementia also soared in the last week of July, while deaths from diabetes, heart disease, cerebrovascular disease, and “other causes” were at least 9% higher than the average for the first three weeks of the month.
“From the state-based data, we can see that Victoria accounts for more than half of this spike, with a material increase also in Queensland. From the age-based data, we can see that males over 75 and females over 85 accounted for almost 90% of the spike,” the authors said.