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HomeNews UpdateMRC: Pandemic deaths approach 300,000 mark, triple SA’s official tally

MRC: Pandemic deaths approach 300,000 mark, triple SA’s official tally

When excess deaths are factored in, a  SA Medical Research Council (SAMRC) calculates that early 300,000 people have died from COVID-19 in South Africa —  three times the official figure of 97,000.

Tanya Farber for TimesLIVE reports that Debbie Bradshaw, a professor of biomathematics at the SAMRC, who has been part of the team calculating excess deaths, said: “The total number of excess deaths is approaching 300,000. It was 296,000 by February 5. We consider 85%-95% are COVID-19.”

The MRC team tracks excess deaths by comparing the weekly number of deaths from all causes with the number that would have been expected without the pandemic. She said that deaths at home or in long-term care homes were less likely to be included in the reported deaths, and the paper-based system of recording deaths was hampered by time lags.

SA urgently needs an online death registration system, Bradshaw said, “to ensure the information collected about cause of death can be shared with the health department in a timely manner for public health surveillance”.

At the peak of SA’s second wave, excess deaths topped 16,000 a week. During the third wave peak there were more than 10,000 excess deaths a week, while in the fourth wave the number peaked at about 3,500.

In the US, 2,200 people are dying daily from COVID. Reuters reports this is higher than in Delta-driven waves, which peaked at seven-day averages of 2,078 deaths in September.


TimesLIVE article –Nearly 300,000 dead from Covid-19 in SA — and the threat is not over (Open access)


Reuters World Coronavirus tracker (Open access)


See more from MedicalBrief archives:


The challenges to collecting accurate COVID-death statistics in SA


SA and world COVID deaths 3x higher than official figures — The Economist


SA life insurers: Doubling in death claims since COVID-19 started


COVID reduced South African life expectancy by 3.5 years


Discovery analysis: Pfizer vaccinated SA adults have 94% lower risk of death from COVID




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