B.C.’s battle to prevent COVID-19 deaths one of most successful in world: Dr. Bonnie Henry | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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B.C.’s battle to prevent COVID-19 deaths one of most successful in world: Dr. Bonnie Henry

Image Credit: ADOBE STOCK
March 11, 2021 - 5:11 PM

Despite there being 1,397 COVID-19 deaths in B.C. as of today, the province’s excess death rate is better than most provinces and countries around the world, according to provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry.

“What we see is, the work that we did in British Columbia, together, to try to protect people from this virus, meant that we had a slight increase in people who have died in our all-cause mortality in this province,” Dr. Henry said today, March 11 during a news conference from the legislature in Victoria.

“We have not seen the large increase that has been seen in other parts of the country or in other countries.”

She did not give B.C. numbers but presented a chart that showed very little change in the number of deaths in B.C. each year from 2009 to the end of 2020.

This shows the total number of deaths in B.C. each year.
This shows the total number of deaths in B.C. each year.
Image Credit: Submitted/B.C. Centre for Disease Control

By comparison, she said, Statistics Canada data shows a five per cent increase in what’s termed excess deaths in the country as a whole. That’s the number of deaths above what would have been expected.

That translates into about 14,000 excess deaths in Canada, she said.

“Many of those were related to COVID-19, primarily in Ontario and Quebec,” Dr. Henry said.

In the United States, the excess death rate was 15 per cent

“That is the largest increase they have had since the 1918 influenza pandemic,” Dr. Henry said. “It is the third leading cause of death in the United States.”

By contrast, COVID-19 was the eighth leading cause of death in B.C.

She presented a chart that did not provide numbers for each cause of death but it showed COVID-19 was a tiny fraction of the leading cause of the roughly 7,500 annual deaths in B.C., which is malignant cancer. That was followed by heat disease and stroke.

This shows the leading causes of death in B.C. in 2020. COVID-19 is in green, opioid deaths in blue.
This shows the leading causes of death in B.C. in 2020. COVID-19 is in green, opioid deaths in blue.
Image Credit: Submitted/B.C. Centre for Disease Control

“We know there are two things going on in B.C. right now,” Dr. Henry said. “We have this COVID-19 pandemic, which has had an impact on some populations, and we have our overdose crises, which also contributes to the excess mortality that we’ve seen in 2020.”

Illicit drug overdoses, with 1,716 deaths, was the fifth leading cause of death last year in B.C.

The average age for drug overdose deaths was 43, compared to 86 for COVID-19.


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