betty July 8, 2022

SINGAPORE – Singapore is still counting the toll exacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, with a sharp spike in the number of deaths last year.

Official figures released on June 30 showed a 10.1 per cent rise in the number of deaths reported last year, compared with 2020.

The number of babies born last year, on the other hand, rose only marginally by 0.2 per cent.

Overall, a total of 24,292 people died last year, against 22,054 deaths in 2020 – a rise of 2,238.

It has been reported that around 800 died from Covid-19 last year.

The excess – or higher than expected – deaths have been attributed to several factors. For example, experts said that the pressure on the healthcare system caused by the pandemic may have contributed to the rise.

In March this year, the Ministry of Health (MOH) released numbers showing that the age-standardised death rate, which had been declining steadily between 2017 and 2019, shot up to 557 per 100,000 people last year, from 519 per 100,000 in 2020.

The age-standardised rate takes into account the age of the population to give a more meaningful comparison than the actual number of deaths.

MOH said the increase in the age-standardised death rate was not unexpected, given how the pandemic has been a health crisis that has killed millions of people in the world.

It added that Singapore, however, has recorded “one of the lowest rates of excess deaths in the Covid-19 pandemic from international comparisons so far”.

Experts told The Straits Times that the rise in the number of deaths also reflected the wider impact of the pandemic.

Some people had to delay medical screenings and postpone non-urgent medical procedures while health workers were battling the pandemic.

While the number of deaths has risen every year over the past decade on account of the ageing population, the year-on-year rise has ranged from 1 per cent to 4 per cent.