Karen Cutter @KarenCutter4
Actuary. Australian. Not affiliated with ABS or govt health departments.
The report covers excess deaths from the start of the pandemic until 30 June 2022. Covid deaths in Singapore and Australia per head of population have been broadly similar.
In measuring excess deaths, the MoH have used the 2019 standardised death rate as their baseline. Their measurement allows for changes in the size and age distribution of the population. Any excess represents a worse mortality RATE compared with 2019. This is good.
My only complaint is that they have shown the experience for 2020, 2021 and the first half of 2022 combined. I would have liked to see the figures for individual years.
They found there were 2,490 excess deaths in the 2.5 years of 2020, 2021 and H1 2022. Covid deaths accounted for 1,403 of the excess deaths (representing 3/5ths of the excess). Most of the excess was during the Delta and Omicron BA.1/B.2 waves.
Here’s where it gets interesting. Non-covid excess deaths “can be explained by patients who passed away from other illnesses within 90 days after being infected with COVID-19. In other words, COVID-19 aggravated existing illnesses, resulting in further mortalities.”
And REALLY interesting. “In a secondary analysis of persons without recent infection, no additional excess deaths were found.” Wow.
“COVID-19 has also been shown to increase the risks of developing medical conditions such as heart attacks and stroke … As such, we observed an increase in death rates due to ischaemic heart disease … However, there was no clear evidence of increased deaths due to stroke.”
This is a very interesting finding given we have seen higher numbers of deaths than expected from stroke (as well as ischaemic heart disease) in Australia.
And they don’t seem to think hospitals being overwhelmed is a contributor: “Although our public hospitals were strained while coping with the pandemic, Singapore has been able to operate such that hospital and ICU beds were able to support patients with urgent medical needs…
… Key indicators such as the rates of death within 30 days of presenting … with a heart attack or stroke at our public hospitals in years 2020 to 2021 were comparable to rates seen in the previous years.”
“The risk of being re-admitted to hospital within 30 days after discharge also remained comparable to pre-COVID years.”