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New report highlights Covid-19 impact on Australians aged over 65

A new report has revealed an excess of 12 per cent of the Australian population died due to Covid-19 in 2022, of which the majority were 65 and over.

Research done by the Actuaries Institute, published last week, compared 2021-22 data with the expected mortality rate in Australia over the past 70 years.

They found that of the 176,300 Australians that passed away last year from the virus, nearly 20,000 cases exceeded the anticipated death rate.

Over 17,000 cases were people aged over 65.

Karen Cutter, a spokeswoman for the Institute's Covid Mortality Working Group, said it was likely these deaths would not have occurred if the pandemic had not happened.

"It is not within normal levels of fluctuation in non-pandemic times," Cutter said.

"Deaths of people over 75 were significantly higher than expected in almost every week of 2022.

"Covid accounts for about half of this excess, and we are also seeing a significant amount of mortality that is not recorded as due to Covid on death certificates."

Over 10,000 of the excess mortality rate could be directly attributed to Covid, according to Cutter.

In another 2,900 deaths, Covid infection was a contributing factor.

The remaining 6,600 people passed away primarily due to ischaemic heart disease and cancer.

It's estimated that since the start of the pandemic, 6.87m people have died because of Covid infection, of which 19,000 Australians, as of March 9, 2023.

Of the registered Covid deaths (15,672 since January 2023), 12,049 are above the age of 60.

Overall, the medium age of Covid-related deaths was 85.

"It is way too early to predict mortality outlook for 2023," Cutter said.

"It will depend on several factors, including future covid prevalence, long-term impacts of infection, and how our health system might cope, or not, with any Covid surges."

During the pandemic, the government mandated residential aged care to enforce strict measures to prevent Covid outbreaks.

There have been 13,118 outbreaks in Australian residential homes since Covid hit in 2020, with an estimated over 130,000 residents to have been infected with the virus.

Over 5,000 aged care home residents have passed away due to Covid since the start of the pandemic.

In total, 135,527 residents (85.2%) have received a fourth dose of the vaccine.

During February this year, ATAGI recommended a fifth booster for all people aged over 65.

Health minister Mark Butler said he would write to aged care providers to facilitate the spread of Covid boosters in the homes.

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One comment

  1. The first sentence of this article reads that 12% of the Australian population died due to COVID-19 last year. This is clearly not correct, when taking in the context of the rest of the article.

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