The Gauteng Health Department has officially recorded 10 770 deaths from Covid-19 but acknowledges that this is only about 42% of the excess deaths figure that is estimated by the SA Medical Research Council (SAMRC).
This information was revealed today by Gauteng Health MEC Nomathemba Mokgethi in an oral reply to my questions at a sitting of the Gauteng Legislature.
According to Mokgethi, the discrepancy in the death figures is due to undiagnosed or unreported cases, and also delayed reporting of deaths.
She said that the extra deaths can be linked directly or indirectly to the Covid-19 epidemic, which includes those deaths arising from the impact on the health system as a whole.
The department estimates that 13 756 deaths from Covid-19 in the province have not been picked up officially but is working on data clean-up and harmonisation in order to better reconcile the divergent figures.
The latest SAMRC figure of excess deaths in Gauteng is 26 802 from 3 May 2020 to 22 May 2021, which is more than double the department’s figure of 10 770.
This highlights the true extent of the suffering caused by this terrible epidemic, which includes the bereavement of relatives and economic devastation caused by the loss of breadwinners.
It is important to have an accurate record of Covid-19 deaths, which should spur the provincial government to prevent more deaths, and to ameliorate the suffering of those most affected by these deaths.
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