Canada’s COVID-19 death toll from first months of pandemic higher than thought, data show
2021-04-05 from theglobeandmail.com
The loss of life in the pandemic’s first nine months was more widespread than official numbers indicated, with mortality spiking sharply even in provinces that reported relatively low death tolls from the virus, according to newly available national data.
A revised geography of the pandemic in Canada emerges from an analysis of the figures by Tara Moriarty, a professor of laboratory medicine and pathobiology at the University of Toronto.
Official COVID-19 deaths in the spring and summer of 2020 were mostly limited to Ontario and Quebec. However, the rate of “excess deaths” – those over and above what would have been expected given the trend in recent years – was much more pronounced in Western Canada than virus fatalities alone can account for.
The statistics suggest some provinces may have inadvertently undercounted COVID-19 deaths by a wide margin, Dr. Moriarty said. Provincial governments themselves have argued the disparity could be caused by hundreds of ailing people dying at home while avoiding hospitals for fear of the virus.
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