Illustration of coronavirus particles. Coronavirus
  • South Africa has officially recorded more than 77,000 deaths from Covid-19.
  • The first death was some 17 months ago, and the death toll annualises to around 54,000.
  • That is more than the annual count from road incidents, assault, medical complications and every other form of death classified as non-natural combined.
  • Covid-19 has now also killed more people than SA's usual top two causes of death, TB and diabetes, combined. 
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An estimated 220,000 people may have died from Covid-19 in South Africa, statistics suggest, but as of Tuesday the official death toll – from confirmed coronavirus infections that ended in death – is 77,440.

That now makes Covid-19 both a bigger killer than South Africa's two most deadly diseases, and more deadly than every non-natural cause of death combined.

It is now nearly 17 months since the first Covid-19 death was recorded in South Africa. In the past week newly-recorded and confirmed deaths averaged 347 per day, something of a mid-point between levels that fell well below a hundred a day in troughs and peaked above 500 at the top of the second wave.

Annualise officially recorded Covid-19 deaths, and the count comes to some 54,000, above the total of non-natural deaths recorded in 2018, the most recent year for which a detailed breakdown of causes of death is available. Those non-natural deaths include the nearly catch-all category of "accidental injury", as well as death by assault, or from medical complications.

The annualised Covid-19 number also makes the new disease not only South Africa's top killer, but bigger than the next two combined. In 2018, tuberculosis deaths were recorded at 27,450 and diabetes was closed behind at 26,879 deaths, a combined total of a little over 54,000.

Viruses lag far behind the bacterium that causes TB in killing South Africans. In the most recent count, HIV was responsible for 21,894 annual deaths, while influenza and pneumonia killed 17,569.

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