On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization declared the COVID-19 virus outbreak as a global pandemic.
A recent report shows the extent of the loss of lives in Canada as a result.
Statistics Canada noted that provisional data indicates an estimated 28,987 excess deaths in the country from March 2020 to the end of November 2021.
The federal agency stated that this amounts to six percent more deaths than would be expected if there were no pandemic.
That is, “after accounting for changes in population, such as aging”.
“Meanwhile,” Statistics Canada said, “28,600 deaths directly attributed to COVID-19 were reported during the same period.”
Moreover, “Beyond deaths attributed to the disease itself, the pandemic could also have indirect consequences that increase or decrease the number of deaths as a result of various factors, including delayed medical procedures, increased substance use, or declines in deaths attributable to other causes, such as influenza.”
Statistics Canada noted that excess mortality increasingly impacted younger Canadians as the pandemic evolved.
Excess mortality is simply what happens when there are more deaths than expected in a given period.
The federal agency cited “three distinct periods of overall excess mortality observed on a national scale”.
“Over these periods, the impacts of excess mortality have shifted from predominantly affecting older Canadians to increasingly affecting younger age groups,” Statistics Canada stated.
It continued, “To some extent, this shift may be caused by increased indirect effects of the pandemic, such as missed medical appointments and increased substance use.”
The first period of excess deaths started in April 2020 and lasted until the start of June 2020.
During this phase, there were 8,156 excess deaths or 14.8 percent more deaths than expected.
“Women (22.5%) and men (17.4%) over the age of 85 were impacted most, with a higher-than-expected number of deaths, occurring from the beginning of April to early June,” Statistics Canada reported.
Moreover, “For older Canadians, excess mortality figures aligned closely with deaths attributed directly to COVID-19 during this period.”
The second period of excess deaths was “marked by a decline in the impact of excess deaths among the most elderly and an increase among younger Canadians”.
“This second period was much longer in duration, observed from the end of October 2020 to the end of January 2021, resulting in 8,163 excess deaths, or 9.9% higher than expected,” Statistics Canada reported.
It continued, “Males and females aged younger than 45 became the most impacted, with 19.7% and 11.7% more deaths than expected, respectively.”
The third national period of excess deaths was from early August to mid-November 2021, wherein “individuals aged younger than 45 continued to be the most impacted”.