SAMRC: Eastern Cape COVID death rate may be world’s worst

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The latest data released by the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC) show South Africa‘s excess deaths during the pandemic have reached 137,731, but have now started to subside. Business Insider reports, however, that the latest numbers paint a shocking picture of how the population of the Eastern Cape has been ravaged by the pandemic.

While the official government number still puts coronavirus-related deaths at below 11,000 for the province, the SAMRC says excess deaths during the pandemic have reached 31,951 in the Eastern Cape.

The SAMRC now estimates that the total excess deaths for the Eastern Cape since the start of the pandemic have hit 485 per 100,000 people in the province. If 70% of these deaths are COVID-19 related, then the disease has killed 340 people per 100,000 – or 1 in every 300 people.

The report says this is among the worst COVID-19 death rates in the world. It may even be the worst. Belgium, the worst-affected country per capita in the world, has seen 188 deaths per 100,000 people – followed by Slovenia (187) and the UK (176). (These are the official numbers in these countries; their own excess death numbers may be higher.)

Looking at specific regions in the US – the country with the largest total number of deaths – the Eastern Cape had a much higher death rate than worst-affected states like New Jersey (248 per 100,000) and New York (230).

The hardest-hit region (per capita) in Italy, Valle d’Aosta, has a death rate of 327 per 100,000.

In Brazil, another country badly affected by COVID-19, the worst-hit region – Amazonas – saw 227 deaths per 100,000.

The report says for the whole of South Africa, the latest excess death number is 231 people per 100,000 – which means that the true COVID-19 death toll (at 70% of the excess death number) could be around 161 people per 100,000.

The same number for KwaZulu-Natal is 207 per 100,000, followed by the Western Cape at 151 per 100,000. In Gauteng, the number is “only” 100 per 100,000.

The latest SAMRC data show that 75% of the excess deaths during the pandemic were among people older than 60.


Full Business Insider report (Open access)


SAMRC Weekly Deaths report

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