Key Statistics

  • 2,639 deaths where people died with or from COVID-19 that occurred by 31 January 2022 have been registered and received by the ABS. The ABS expects to receive further registrations for this period from the jurisdictional Registries of Births, Deaths and Marriages.
  • The majority of deaths had an underlying cause of death of COVID-19 (2,556).
  • There were 83 people who died with COVID-19.
  • Chronic cardiac conditions were the most common pre-existing chronic condition for those who had COVID-19 certified as the underlying cause of death.

Deaths due to COVID-19 in Australia

The Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a respiratory infection caused by a new coronavirus. On 11 March 2020 the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 to be a pandemic. 

There are 2,639 death registrations that have been received by the ABS where an individual is certified as having died from or with COVID-19 between the start of the pandemic and 31 January 2022. Approximately 1% of the 273,901 death registrations received by the ABS and certified by a doctor in Australia during the pandemic period are of people who have died with or from COVID-19. This number of deaths is a preliminary figure and represents only deaths where the death registration process through the jurisdictional Registries of Births, Deaths and Marriages (the civil registration system) has been completed. The number of deaths of people who have died with or from COVID-19 during this time period will increase as additional registrations are received by the ABS. 

Data published by the ABS is collected through the civil registration system and is not directly comparable with that released from disease surveillance systems which are designed to release information rapidly on both infections and mortality. 

Information about mortality sourced from the registration-based system takes longer to receive than information reported through the surveillance system, but it is more comprehensive and can provide important additional insights into deaths from COVID-19. Cause of death information is sourced from the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death (MCCD), which enables identification of the underlying cause of death and other associated causes. These data sources also provide demographic information about the decedent (e.g. age, sex and country of birth).

Certification of COVID-19 on the MCCD in Australia

There were 2,704 deaths which occurred and were registered by 31 January 2022 and had COVID-19 written as a term on the death certificate. Of these 2,704 deaths, 2,556 were deaths due to COVID-19, including: 

  • 2,519 which were directly due to acute COVID-19 infection with the virus being laboratory confirmed. 
  • 20 deaths that were due to long term effects of COVID-19 (e.g. long COVID-19). 
  • 17 deaths that were certified as being due to suspected COVID-19 with the virus not confirmed in a laboratory at the time of certification. 

These 2,556 deaths are considered to be “due to” COVID-19 and are included in underlying cause mortality tabulations in this report.

Other deaths that had COVID-19 as a term on the death certificate included:

  • 83 deaths which were COVID-19 related. This is where the person died with COVID-19 (confirmed or suspected) but it was not the underlying cause of death.
  • 50 deaths which had a negative COVID-19 result recorded on the death certificate. When a negative COVID-19 test result is recorded on a death certificate an ICD-10 code of ‘Z03.8 Examination and observation for other specified reasons’ is assigned to capture the information communicated by the doctor. These deaths are not included in COVID-19 mortality reporting.
  • 13 deaths which occurred in people who had COVID-19 but recovered. These mentions of COVID-19 on the death certificate are captured with an ICD-10 code of “U08.9 Personal history of COVID-19”. These deaths are not included in COVID-19 mortality reporting.

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