Flowers rest in front of crosses placed to remember the residents of Camilla Care Community who have lost their lives to COVID-19, in Mississauga, Ont. on Monday, May 11, 2020. Provisional estimates from Statistics Canada suggest nearly 14,000 more deaths than expected took place last year, even accounting for the pandemic and an aging population. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn

Flowers rest in front of crosses placed to remember the residents of Camilla Care Community who have lost their lives to COVID-19, in Mississauga, Ont. on Monday, May 11, 2020. Provisional estimates from Statistics Canada suggest nearly 14,000 more deaths than expected took place last year, even accounting for the pandemic and an aging population. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn

Pandemic toll: StatCan data estimates nearly 14,000 more deaths than expected in 2020

2020 saw seven per cent more than the 277,276 deaths seen in 2019

Provisional estimates from Statistics Canada suggest nearly 14,000 more deaths than expected took place last year, even accounting for the pandemic and an aging population.

The early numbers attempt to measure so-called “excess mortality,” which occurs when there are more deaths during a period of time than would be expected.

The report estimates 296,373 deaths from January to mid-December 2020, including 13,798 more deaths than expected, or a five per cent increase.

It’s about seven per cent more than the 277,276 deaths seen in 2019.

StatCan cautions that Wednesday’s figures are considered “provisional estimates,” noting data was incomplete due to reporting delays and do not include the Yukon. They will be revised as more information comes in, and may not match local reports.

StatCan also notes that excess mortality numbers may actually include COVID-19-related deaths that were missed, especially at the start of the pandemic when some people may have died before getting tested.

Despite the limitations, the study does offer an early attempt to quantify the true toll of COVID-19 and its myriad impacts, as access to health services became restricted and mental-health crises increased.

The early data already suggests that deaths due to heart disease, for instance, rose last spring in Ontario.

Based on data received to date,StatCan found 4,345 heart disease deaths from March to June in that province – up from 4,125 in the spring of 2019 and higher than in the spring of any of the previous five years.

The estimates also echo reports of more overdose deaths in 2020, following an apparent decline in 2019 from highs in 2017 and 2018.

The study says Alberta reported 220 overdose deaths from March to June 2020, up from 170 deaths the previous year.

StatCan notes Alberta Health Services reported more opioid-related emergencies and deaths but also a drop in the number of substance use treatment programs on offer, and a drop in the number of people using those programs.

A similar update last August looked at spring data and noted that excess mortality may also be due to other causes not directly linked to the pandemic.

As an example, excess deaths recorded in Nova Scotia in April were partly driven by a mass shooting April 18 and 19.

ALSO READ: 160,000 individuals, couples still waiting to receive their BC Recovery Benefit

The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Cowichan Valley Capitals defenceman Logan Rands pokes the puck away from Alberni Valley Bulldogs forward Talon Duff. (Elena Rardon/Black Press Media)
Offence sags as Cowichan Capitals reach midway mark

Caps score one goal in three games as pod season continues

BCYP Minister for the Southern Interior, Aislinn Dressler of Fernie said the Youth Parliament being virtual was a great way to learn about how the BC Parliament was operating. (Photo contributed by Aislinn Dressler)
Applications open for Islands Youth Parliament

Applications must be received by April 23

Someone used this counterfeit $50 to pay for items at the Hospital Auxiliary Thrift Store in downtown Duncan in April 2021. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Duncan businesses warned of counterfeit cash

Fake $50 passed at Hospital Auxiliary Thrift Store

Martin Drakeley, North Cowichan’s manager of fire and bylaw services, says the municipality’s fire halls have responded to more fires than usual this spring. (File photo)
Dry weather, wind leads to more brushfires this spring in North Cowichan

‘Be safe. Be fire smart. Be situationally aware.’

A large crowd protested against COVID-19 measures at Sunset Beach in Vancouver on Tuesday, April 20, 2021. (Snapchat)
VIDEO: Large, police-patrolled crowds gather at Vancouver beach for COVID protests

Vancouver police said they patrolled the area and monitored all gatherings

A teacher-librarian in Nanaimo was fired in 2019 for checking out an age-inappropriate graphic novel to a student. The discipline agreement was published Wednesday, April 21. (News Bulletin file photo)
Nanaimo teacher-librarian fired for checking out too-graphic graphic novel to student

Teacher had been previously disciplined and suspended on two occasions

Aria Pendak Jefferson cuddles ChiChi, the family cat that ran away two years ago in Ucluelet. The feline was missing until Courtney Johnson and Barry Edge discovered her in the parking lot of the Canadian Princess earlier this month. Aria and her parents were reunited with ChiChi in a parking lot in Port Alberni. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
An Island girl’s wish is answered as her cat came back

Courtenay family reunited with cat that went missing in Ucluelet in 2019

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Vancouver Island Connector and Tofino Bus is putting a 41-passenger electric bus through its paces in a three-month trial run between Nanaimo and Victoria. (Photo submitted)
Electric bus on trial run serving Victoria-to-Nanaimo route

Vancouver Island Connector and Tofino Bus trying out 41-seat electric coach for three months

FILE – The Instagram app is shown on an iPhone in Toronto on Monday, March 19, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy
Judge acquits B.C. teen boy ‘set up’ on sex assault charge based on Instagram messages

The girl and her friends did not have ‘good intentions’ towards the accused, judge says

Kai Palkeinen recently helped a car stuck on the riverbed near the Big Eddy Bridge. While the car could not be saved, some of the driver’s belongings were. It’s common for vehicles to get stuck in the area due to significantly changing river levels from Revelstoke Dam. (Photo by Kai Palkeinen)
“I just sank a car’: Revelstoke resident tries to save vehicle from the Columbia River

Although it’s not permitted, the riverbed near the city is popular for off roading

Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of Huawei, walks down the street with an acquaintance after leaving B.C. Supreme Court during a lunch break at her extradition hearing, in Vancouver, B.C., Thursday, April 1, 2021. A judge is scheduled to release her decision today on a request to delay the final leg of hearings in Meng Wanzhou’s extradition case. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Rich Lam
B.C. judge grants Meng Wanzhou’s request to delay extradition hearings

Lawyers for Canada’s attorney general had argued there is no justification to delay proceedings in the case

B.C. Premier John Horgan announces travel restrictions between the province’s regional health authorities at the legislature, April 19, 2021. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. sees 862 more COVID-19 cases Wednesday, seven deaths

Recreational travel restrictions set to begin Friday

Most Read