A recent report by the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC) pertaining to excess deaths in the previous year has supposedly found that over 133,000 people in the country have died due to COVID-19. Evidently, this number is significantly higher than the official tally for the nation, which stands at nearly 55,000.
The government-backed medical research organization has been monitoring excess deaths after May 2020. In its latest report, the organization has stated that South Africa has witnessed 157,000 excess deaths in the last 12 months.
South Africa imposed one of the most stringent lockdowns seen across the globe in March 2020 when cases were relatively low, as per reports. These lockdown restrictions apparently included border closures and bans on alcohol and cigarette sales.
The SAMRC report has apparently estimated that 85% of these excess deaths were due to COVID-19, indicating that overall, around 133,000 people have died from the infection. Meanwhile, the national death toll was reported at 54,968 since the outbreak of the pandemic, reports suggest.
SAMRC added that rise in weekly deaths due to COVID-19 only became evident from May 2020. According to epidemiologists, excess death figures have been the best way to quantify the actual death toll resulting from COVID-19 as counting methods can differ between countries.
Excess deaths have surpassed official COVID-19 death figures in several countries, experts claim. These deaths are commonly defined as the difference between the recorded deaths over a certain period and expected number of deaths in the same timeframe.
The SAMRC report further claimed that excess death rate was 258 per 100,000 population in the country within the last 12 months. These numbers have reportedly placed South Africa, on an age-standardized basis, among the top five nations where excess deaths are measured.
Most lockdown restrictions have been eased across the country, however, the recent spike in infections has given rise to the fear of a third wave of the pandemic, reports suggest.
Reportedly, the country’s vaccination drive has now administered about 430,730 shots of the COVID-19 vaccine and has ordered millions more doses.