Australian COVID-19 deaths higher among disadvantaged

In all four waves of COVID-19 pandemic in Australia, the highest proportion of deaths have occurred in people who are most disadvantaged, data has revealed.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) recently released data, saying there were 12,545 deaths of people who have died from or with COVID-19 during the pandemic, whose deaths were registered and lodged with the ABS by Sept. 30, 2022.

Lauren Moran, ABS Director of Health and Vital Statistics, said this data and analysis offer detailed information about how the pandemic has impacted people.

According to Moran, while almost all COVID-related deaths (99 percent) in the first year of the pandemic had COVID-19 recorded as the underlying cause, this had fallen to 72 percent by August 2022.

Nearly 80 percent of deaths from COVID-19 have occurred during the Omicron wave in Australia.

“COVID-19 mortality during the pandemic disproportionately affected older people, with deaths among people aged 80-89 accounting for the highest proportion of deaths across all waves,” Moran said in a media release on Wednesday.

COVID-19 mortality rates across all waves have been highest among people from areas of greatest disadvantage, with the highest proportion during the Delta wave at around 40 percent, said ABS.

The first wave and the Delta wave had a younger age distribution for mortality compared to the second wave and Omicron wave, according to the data.

Over half of the deaths during the Delta wave were among people aged under 80, with over a quarter aged under 70.

By comparison, around 30 percent were aged under 80 and 10 percent were under 70 during the Omicron wave.

Vulnerable populations, including people of older ages, people of lower socio-economic backgrounds and those with pre-existing chronic conditions have had higher rates of mortality during all waves of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Chronic cardiac conditions, including coronary atherosclerosis and cardiomyopathies, were the most common pre-existing illnesses associated with coronavirus deaths, followed by dementia and diabetes.

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