The Australian government should be urgently investigating the “incredibly high” 13% excess death rate in 2022, the country’s peak actuarial body says.
An extra 15,400 people died in the first eight months of the year, according to a new analysis of Australian Bureau of Statistics (“ABS”) data by the Actuaries Institute, with around one-third of those having no link to Covid.
Karen Cutter, an actuary of more than 25 years and spokeswoman for the institute’s Covid-19 Mortality Working Group, said 13% was an “incredibly high number for mortality” and that it was “not clear” what was driving the increase. “Mortality doesn’t normally vary by more than 1% to 2%, so 13% is way higher than normal levels,” she said.
Read more: Excess deaths in 2022 ‘incredibly high’ at 13 per cent, News.com.au, 8 December 2022
At the beginning of last week, the Working Group released an updated analysis of excess mortality in Australia. The analysis was based on data from the ABS for deaths occurring before 31 August 2022 and registered by 31 October 2022. It revealed 10% excess deaths for August alone and 13% cumulative excess deaths for the eight months up to the end of August.
The Actuaries Institute is the professional body representing the actuarial profession in Australia.
Terminology. COVID-19 deaths may be:
– “from COVID-19”, where COVID-19 is the underlying cause of death
– “with COVID-19”, where there was another underlying cause but COVID-19 was a contributing cause.
“Incidental COVID-19” deaths are not counted as COVID-19 deaths.
— Karen Cutter (@KarenCutter4) December 6, 2022
After removing “from” and “with” Covid deaths, significant excess remains – particularly around the time of peak Covid (Jan) and flu (June/July) – which suggests delays in emergency care having an impact and/or possibly undiagnosed Covid, Cutter said.