The virus is now one of the top five leading causes of death in Australia, trumped only by heart disease and dementia.
For all of us, death is inevitable. But in 2022 more Australians died – and we have Covid to thank.
There were 190,939 deaths last year, almost 20,000 more than 2021.
“Deaths due to COVID-19 Covid were a significant contributor to the increase, causing just under 10,000 deaths and mentioned as a contributing factor on a further 2,782 death certificates,” data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics claims.
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The bulk of those deaths are attributed to the Omicron variant, which was first discovered in November 2021. “The Omicron variant was the dominant strain during 2022, with multiple waves across the year associated with the variant.”
In 2020, it was the 38th leading cause of death in Australia, and in 2021, it was the 33rd.
The pandemic also marked a change to our list of top five leading causes of death for the first time since 2006. Covid is now deemed deadlier than lung and bowel cancers, the ABS reports.
What’s more, “This is the first time in over 50 years that an infectious disease has been in the top five leading causes of death in Australia.”
That last time was back 1968 and 1970, when influenza and pneumonia were deemed as the fifth leading cause of death.
For those who died from Covid in 2022:
- Their median age was 85.8 years
- Over half were male
- Pneumonia was present in 41.7 per cent of Covid deaths
- Cardiac conditions were the most commonly reported pre-existing conditions in 33.0 per cent of Covid deaths
- The most common underlying cause of death was dementia
- NSW (3,608) and Victoria (2,956) had the highest number of deaths
Heart disease topped the list with 18,643 deaths, followed by dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease with 17,106.
These were trailed by Covid, and then Cerebrovascular disease with 9,829 deaths.
Cerebrovascular disease includes stroke, vertebral stenosis, carotid stenosis and intracranial stenosis, aneurysms, and vascular malformations.
Lung cancer came in fifth with 9,048 deaths, making it our deadliest cancer.