New insights into COVID-19 deaths in Australia

Media Release

Australia had 682 COVID-19 deaths by the end of August, according to data released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). 

Assistant Director of Mortality Statistics at the ABS, Lauren Moran, said the latest data showed there were pre-existing conditions in 73 per cent of COVID-19 deaths, with the data not including deaths that occurred after August.

“Data based on death registrations provides us with insights into the diseases that are consequences of COVID-19, as well as co-morbid conditions which may have contributed to COVID-19 deaths,” said Ms Moran.

“Pre-existing chronic conditions were reported for 73 per cent (496) of COVID-19 deaths. Among these 496 deaths, dementia was noted on 41 per cent of death certificates, chronic cardiac conditions on 32 per cent, diabetes on 17 per cent and hypertension on 16 per cent.

“Some of the people who died from COVID-19 had more than one pre-existing chronic condition listed on the death certificate.”

Ms Moran added: “Conditions caused by COVID-19 were reported for 366 of the 682 COVID-19 deaths. Pneumonia was the most commonly reported consequence of COVID-19, reported on 54 per cent of those 366 death certificates. Respiratory failure (16 per cent), other infections (13 per cent) and cardiac complications (10 per cent) were also reported as consequences of COVID-19.”

There were an additional 18 deaths where COVID-19 was reported on the death certificate but was not recorded as the underlying cause of death. These are not included in the 682 COVID-19 deaths.

Overall, the provisional mortality data shows that there have been just under 80,000 doctor certified deaths that occurred up until 28 July. Between the weeks ending 2 June and 28 July there were 24,329 deaths, compared with an average of 26,229 over the last 5 years.

Comprehensive data and analysis can be found in Provisional mortality statistics (cat. no. 3303.0.55.004), available for free download from the ABS website.

This release is part of a range of additional products produced by the ABS to measure the impact of COVID-19.


Media notes

  • Data in this report are provisional, limited to deaths certified by doctors (not coroner referred), and are based on date of death and state or territory of registration. Data are not comparable with annual data released in Deaths, Australia (cat. no. 3302.0) or Causes of Death, Australia (cat. no. 3303.0).
  • Counts of COVID-19 deaths for this period may increase in future releases of this report due to delays in reporting of some registrations.
  • When reporting ABS data, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (or ABS) must be attributed as the source.
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