New statistics canada data reveals hundreds of “excess” deaths in Canada in the middle of the pandemic


Hundreds of Canadians died in the early weeks of the pandemic than during the same period in previous years, but not all were directly connected to the COVID-19, according to figures released Friday by Statistics Canada.The report by weekly report of deaths from this year, against the largest number of deaths for these same weeks in the last five years — in search of “excess deaths,” which stands out from historical highs.

Between 15 March and 25 April, british Columbia has recorded 372 deaths more than in the previous five years in these same weeks, but only 99 of those who have been confirmed COVID-19-case basis.

A similar trend has been observed in Alberta. For seven weeks, the death, the counts are systematically higher than the historical baseline — but only 40 of 402 number of additional deaths are connected to the coronavirus.

The excess deaths attributed to both sexes, and seemed “disproportionately affect those over 85 years,” said the report.

This suggests that other factors could be in play, ” Owen Phillips, an analyst at Statistics Canada, vital statistics program, told CBC News. “It may be that variations in the structure of the population or the fluctuations in deaths due to other causes. ”

Similar studies in countries such as the UNITED states and the united kingdom have also revealed hundreds, sometimes thousands of excess deaths in the middle of the pandemic.

The report raises more questions than answers for Prabhat Jha, professor of epidemiology at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto.

“Are those who lack COVID death? Are they of heart attacks not processed and, therefore, died in the house? ” he said, noting that the preliminary studies suggest that patients do not receive essential care, or go to the emergency room of the fear of contracting COVID-19.

“That will not be possible to determine the cause of death, which I fear is a few months. ”

While the statistics on COVID-19 deaths are updated on a daily basis, it generally must Statistics Canada, up to a year to collect data on other causes of death. The most recent data is from 2018.

The agency told the CBC, it is the hope of the release of a further analysis, looking specifically at the cause of death in the course of the pandemic, at the beginning of July.

Missing data

The data has gaps. Statistics of New Brunswick and Nunavut were considered to be “too incomplete” to be included. The figures for Ontario, the second most affected province, and the Yukon were not available.

Statistics Canada reports that in part this is because the registration of deaths is still “a paper-based process” in eight of the 13 provinces and territories, including Ontario. The agency said it has not received all of the death statistics in the Yukon since 2017.

Jha said it is crucial for Canada in order to understand these excess of deaths before the second wave of the pandemic, but the answers probably will not be easy because of what he describes as archaic and decentralized data collection process.

“The whole of Canada and the provinces should really move to a real-time system. In the united kingdom, the data are released every two weeks, including the cause of death information so that you can enter in these details, ” he said.

The differences in Quebec

Statistics Canada tally also raises questions about the province hardest hit by the pandemic. Statistics Canada counted 25,185 deaths in Quebec during the first four months of the year 2020 — much less than 28,140 compiled by the provincial statistical agency.

Statistics Canada says it is aware that its figures for Quebec are probably incomplete, but he still sees a continuing trend of excess of deaths higher than historic highs in comparable weeks. He anticipates the figures will be better adjusted soon.

Jha agrees that the Quebec data is more reliable.

“The data from quebec are the ones I think are the most robust, as they emit directly, and they seem to show that almost all the excess seems to be explained by COVID,” he said.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here