Deaths in South Africa – COVID-19 versus AIDS, cancer, and TB

Pandemics – Data and Analytics (Panda) has shown that the number of COVID-19 deaths in South Africa this year is still far below other leading causes.

Panda coordinator and actuary, Nick Hudson is a vocal critic of the national lockdown because of the long-term impact on the economy and people’s lives.

He previously said the “years of life lost” because of the lockdown could be 30-times worse than the reduction in mortality due to COVID-19.

Panda and Hudson have now published new data which again argues that the destruction of the economy is not justified when considering year-to-date COVID-19 deaths.

“Compared to a normal year COVID-19 has claimed fewer lives than any of our 15 leading causes of death,” Hudson said.

“And we daily hear reports that the government has diverted resources away from these critical killers to tackle the virus. Is this even vaguely reasonable?”

Panda posted a chart, based on World Health Organisation data, which compares the deaths caused by COVID-19 and other leading causes for 2020.

It should that COVID-19 deaths are still far lower than other leading causes like HIV/AIDS, cardiovascular disease, and cancers.

Rapid increase in COVID-19 cases and weekly deaths

While the number of COVID-19 deaths remains far lower than other leading causes, many people highlighted that the pandemic is only going to peak in the next two to three months.

The number of new daily coronavirus cases exceeded 10,000 for the first time in South Africa on Saturday.

Gauteng is the hardest hit with 5,042 new COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours which makes it the country’s new coronavirus epicentre.

The Western Cape and Eastern Cape also continue to grapple with the pandemic with an ever-increasing number of cases.

Along with the increase in COVID-19 cases these three provinces have seen a sharp rise in weekly deaths from natural causes.

A new report by the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC) showed that there has been an excess of 4,039 deaths from natural causes between 6 May and 23 June 2020.

These excess deaths occurred mostly in the Western Cape and Eastern Cape, two of the regions hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.

COVID-19 deaths are therefore expected to rise rapidly in the coming weeks as the number of new cases spikes in Gauteng and other regions in the country.

The charts below (courtesy of Mediahack and SAMRC) show the increase in COVID-19 cases in South Africa, the number of COVID-19 deaths, and the increase in the number of deaths from natural causes in recent weeks.


COVID-19 cases in South Africa


COVID-19 deaths in South Africa


Weekly number of deaths from natural causes in South Africa


Now read: Gauteng government wants a hard lockdown

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Deaths in South Africa – COVID-19 versus AIDS, cancer, and TB