Natural death stats troubling as Gauteng leads the way

There has been a relentless increase in more natural deaths and, by the second week of July, the country had 59% more deaths due to natural causes than expected, the SA Medical Research Council (SAMRC) has said.

Between 1 July and 8 July, weekly deaths rose to 14,958 as compared to the forecasted 9,935 deaths predicted for that week.

This was a 51% jump from the predicted number based on historical data, resulting in an excess of 5,023 deaths in that week.

The week prior saw 13,737 deaths with a forecast of 10,815.

The SAMRC's burden on disease research unit report on weekly deaths in South Africa estimated the number of deaths by comparing and basing it on historical data from 2018 and 2019.

In the period between 6 May to 14 July, there was an excess of 17,090 deaths from natural causes. For those aged between one/\r\n/
and 59, the excess was 5,889 deaths and 11,175 for those aged above 60 years.

Out of the nine provinces, the Western Cape, Eastern Cape, Gauteng and KwaZulu Natal experienced an excess number of natural deaths.

Compared with the predicted number of natural deaths from historical data in the week ending 14 July 2020, Gauteng had 117% more, followed by the Eastern Cape with 116% more.

Western Cape and KwaZulu Natal had 57% and 49% more respectively.

The number of deaths from unnatural causes such as fatal road accidents and murders decreased by 20% as compared to the forecast number for the week ending 14 July 2020.

According to SAMRC chief specialist scientist and co-author of the report, Professor Debbie Bradshaw, the timing and geographic pattern leaves no room to question whether this is associated with the Covid-19 pandemic.

"However, the weekly death reports have revealed a huge discrepancy between country's confirmed Covid-19 deaths and number of excess natural deaths," she said.

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