MORE than 174,000 deaths were registered in Australia in 2022 – 12 per cent more than was predicted.
This represents one of the largest excess death levels outside the pandemic in 80 years, according to data from the Actuaries Institute.
Of the additional 20,000 deaths, 10,300 were directly attributed to Covid-19 and 2,900 were linked to the virus in some way.
The remaining 6,600 excess deaths were not related to Covid-19, the data suggested.
Instead, they were mostly related to heart disease and cancer.
Karen Cutter, from the Institute’s Covid-19 mortality working group, said the levels are “not within normal levels of fluctuation in non-pandemic times”.
She said the Institute believed that the virus played a role in many of the excess deaths – even those that weren’t directly attributed to Covid.
“Firstly, mortality risk is higher subsequent to an acute Covid infection, and most Australians have now had Covid-19,” she told news.com.au.
Previous research has found anyone who’s had Covid is at risk of dying 18 months after infection.
Scientists from China discovered all those who contract the virus have an increased risk of deadly heart issues including heart failure, stroke, atrial fibrillation, myocardial infarction and heart disease.
Other studies have found the bug increases risk of developing venous thromboembolism (VTE), which is a condition when a blood clot forms in a vein.
Many people couldn’t get healthcare during the pandemic, as many services closed their doors or offered reduced services, which Karen said could have also contributed to the surge in excess deaths.
“People have not accessed medical care when needed, either through inability (in emergency situations) or through fear or lack of opportunity (thus missing routine care earlier in the pandemic),” she said.
“Lastly, some of these deaths could be undiagnosed Covid-19 deaths,” she added.
Karen said that vaccine side effects were not cited as a reason for the increased mortality rates.
There have been rare cases of myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle) following the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines in the UK.
However, research suggests that overall, myocarditis is no more likely to be triggered by a Covid vaccine than any other vaccine.
Excess deaths in the UK
Australia is not alone in this phenomenon, with other countries like the UK also battling an unprecedented rise in excess mortality.
The UK recorded nearly 40,000 excess deaths in 2022, according to the Office of National Statistics.