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Are there fewer overall deaths in South Africa during the coronavirus pandemic?

The Burden of Disease Research Unit of the South African Medical Research Council has been using information from the National Population Register and historical data from 2018 and 2019 to estimate the number of deaths that could be expected during 2020. They compare it with deaths registered during the Covid-19 pandemic on a week-by-week basis

The report that covers the period 1 January to 19 May shows that nationally the number of deaths was “significantly lower than expected”. But this was mainly due to a lower than expected number of deaths from unnatural causes – such as road traffic fatalities and homicides – during the lockdown period, the report states. 

However, deaths from natural causes in the City of Cape Town exceeded the expected number of deaths in the week up to 19 May, according to the report.

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