Report on Weekly Deaths in South Africa
Monthly reporting of weekly deaths
Estimated numbers of weekly deaths are reported monthly against the predicted numbers.
Following further investigation into mortality rates during the pre-COVID period, the predicted numbers of death were revised in January 2023. Models that allowed for different time trends by age group were fitted to the mortality data from 2015 – 2019 and applied to revised population estimates for 2020 – 2023 considering the effects of largely COVID-related excess mortality on the population at risk. The overall impact of the revised estimates of predicted deaths is to reduce the estimate of excess deaths from natural causes for the period 2020 – 2022 by some 32,000 (less than 10% of the estimated total). About 40% of the difference were among children under 5-years of age and mostly during the latter half of 2021 and 2022.
It is planned that the monthly report will be expanded to include subnational estimates once we have improved the adjustment for under-reporting of deaths for these sub-groups.
In the context of the emerging COVID-19 pandemic, it became essential to track the weekly number of deaths that occur in near to real time. Deaths recorded on the National Population Register are provided to the SAMRC on a weekly basis. These have been scaled up to estimate the actual number of deaths by accounting for the people who are not on the population register and the under-registration of deaths.