The mystery of “excess deaths” during the COVID-19 pandemic continues following the publication of INSTAT data for the first three months of 2021.
In 2020, there was a 27% increase in deaths in 2020, when compared to the previous years. Around 28,000 people died during the year, while in the previous years an average of 22,000 people died.
This leaves around 6,000 “excess deaths” in 2020. The government reported 1,315 deaths from COVID-19, but this still leaves some 4,500 deaths more than usual, and not attributed to coronavirus.
While in the first quarter of 2021 there were 9,657 deaths reported in total. This was an increase of 35% when compared to the averages of the same period during the previous four years.
Between 2017 and 2020, an average of 6,414 people died. Even when accounting for the 1,810 COVID-19 deaths reported by the government during this time, it still leaves around 1,400 “excess deaths”.
This trend can be observed when you look at the data for each quarter during the pandemic and in the year as a whole. Even accounting for a gradual increase in deaths (around 1% due to an aging population), there is still a discrepancy in the statistics.
Many countries around the world have struggled with knowing how to consistently report deaths from COVID-19. Some have only reported those who were positive at the time of death, or who were positive afterward. Some include probably cases as well as confirmed, others count deaths from side effects from the virus, even after the patient is negative, as COVID-19 deaths and others don’t.
This has resulted in a situation whereby some countries are accused of overreporting COVID-19 deaths, while others are accused of underreporting them.
Experts have warned that underreporting deaths not only misleads the public but can also impact the ability of the government to adequately prepare for further waves and to manage resources efficiently.
The World Health Organization has asked that both probable and confirmed deaths be categorized as COVID-19 related “unless there is a clear alternative cause of death that cannot be related” to the disease.
The government has not been transparent in the way that they categorize and report COVID-19 deaths.