Data from Actuaries Institute has shown that excess deaths for the first 10 months of 2022 totalled 16,600, which is 11% more than predicted.
Applying its model to shortform data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), the institute’s COVID-19 Mortality Working Group has estimated that a little over half (8,900) of these 16,600 deaths were due to COVID-19, while another 2,500 deaths listed COVID-19 as a contributory cause.
The remaining 5,200 deaths, accounting for roughly a third of all excess deaths, had no mention of COVID-19 on the death certificate.
“This analysis is a useful reminder as to how important a feature and driver COVID-19 remained in 2022, three years into the pandemic,” said Actuaries Institute chief executive Elayne Grace.
Additionally, the lowest levels of excess death were seen during September and October, when the total was 5% and 3% above predictions, respectively.
Karen Cutter, spokesperson of the Actuaries Institute’s COVID-19 Mortality Working Group, said there were two clear drivers for lower level of excess deaths reported during these two months.
The number of deaths from and with COVID-19 had been considerably lower in September and October compared to previous months, according to Cutter. The influenza season also occurred earlier than usual, which meant Australia saw “lower than expected mortality in respect of respiratory disease” from August to October 2022.
Despite the lower level of deaths from non-COVID causes, Cutter added that deaths from ischaemic heart disease (heart attack), cerebrovascular disease (including strokes), diabetes, and other causes were higher than expected.
“Higher-than-expected deaths from these causes more than offset the lower-than-expected deaths from respiratory disease in August and September, and it is likely that this will also be the case for the month of October 2022,” she said.
Actuaries Institute’s latest excess mortality data follows a previous release that showed the excess deaths for the first half of 2022 totalled about 11,200, exceeding predictions by 13%. Half of these deaths were caused by COVID-19, while 1,300 considered COVID-19 as a contributory cause.