No great mystery. The Covid panic led to Covid being prioritzed over all other forms of medical care -- with cancer screenings and treatment in particular being seriously delayed. And delaying cancer treatment will usually make it fatal. Normal priorities would have saved many lives
Australians are dying at a rate not seen since wartime but politicians are ignoring demands to find out why, critics say.
In 2022 there were 25,235 more deaths than would be expected in a normal year, 10,095 of which were directly caused by Covid with another 3,000 where the virus was 'a contributing factor'.
The rate of 'excess deaths' is calculated on a historical average of mortality for a given period and is weighted for shifting demographics, such as an aging population.
Last year saw excess mortality running at 15 per cent above the expected number of deaths, which is a rate of death Australia has not seen in the 80 years since World War II, according to Australian Bureau Statistics (ABS) figures released last week.
The final ABS figures for 2022 are higher than the 12 per cent rate of excess mortality reported for that year by an Actuaries Institute report in March.
The jump in deaths led to a Senate motion two weeks ago, sponsored by Victorian UAP Senator Ralph Babet, to hold an inquiry into excess deaths but this was voted down by the government and crossbench Senators.
Queensland LNP Senator Gerard Rennick spoke in support of the motion saying that statistically such a jump in deaths was a 'one in a thousand event'. ‘We deserve an inquiry,’ he said.
On Wednesday Sydney talkback radio 2GB host Ben Fordham joined calls for a probe into why Australians are dying in such comparatively high numbers. 'Sadly people in power don’t want to talk about it,' Fordham said.
'Does it have something to do with our one-track focus on coronavirus and other diseases and illnesses that were forced into the back seat while we fought off Covid?'
Fordham pointed to a warning issued by Cancer Australia in September 2021 noting that biopsies, scans and surgeries for the disease had plummeted in 2020 because of Covid lockdowns, meaning up to 20,000 cases may have been missed.
In 2022 the ABS recorded 10,000 more cancer deaths than the historical norm, representing a five per cent increase in mortality from the disease.
However, according to the ABS the majority of excess deaths in 2022 were Covid-related.
The bureau said 10,095 people died because of Covid, with an estimated 3,000 others deaths recorded where the virus was 'a contributing factor'.
There was also a 19 per cent increase in those dying of diabetes and a 15 per cent jump in dementia mortality.
There were marginal increases in the number of heart-related and respiratory infection deaths.
Fordham said without an inquiry the issue of excess deaths will be 'weaponised'.
He said on one side are those who want a return to lockdowns or other heavy restrictions on Covid spread. 'As we know Australians won’t cop that,' Fordham argued.
On the other hand there are those who are blaming the Covid vaccines for an increase in deaths.
He noted the Therapeutic Goods Administration, the watchdog on medical safety, had received reports of 900 deaths occurring within days of getting a Covid vaccine but had investigated those cases and found only 14 were because of the jab.
Fordham said the TGA had been so resistant to his inquiries about potential vaccine-related deaths that it raised suspicions. 'If we don’t investigate and come up with some firm answers those whispers will grow louder,' he said.
The TGA has consistently insisted the Covid vaccines are extremely safe and severe, and adverse reactions are 'rare'.
'COVID-19 vaccinations are safe and save lives,' the agency says on its website. 'They are closely monitored in the largest global vaccine rollout in history. 'Most side effects are mild and go away in a couple of days.'
In promoting the push for an inquiry, Senator Rennick claimed it was suspect that there was a jump in deaths after vaccine rollouts.
This is despite just 14 deaths being caused by vaccines in Australia, compared to 10,000 deaths caused by the virus itself last year alone.
The jump in deaths also aligned with the time Covid became widespread among the populations, meaning a larger proportion of the population were coming into contact with the illness - and dying.
But Senator Rennick said while there had been a jump in deaths in 2020 associated with the original Covid wave, that year had seen excess deaths suppressed by the national lockdown and lengthier ones in states such as Victoria.
Lockdowns prevent road deaths and other accidents that befall people in the ordinary course of life.
Senator Rennick argued after the vaccine rollout in April, 2021, all-cause excess deaths jumped by 1,000 and later 2,000 a month.
He argued that states with low or no Covid such as Western Australia and Queensland saw jumps of 9 and 10 per cent in deaths respectively.
'We need to look to see how many people died within a number of days from the vaccine, we need to look at the average rate of daily deaths,' Senator Rennick said in parliament.
Nations around the world are experiencing a surge in excess deaths, not all of which is explained by Covid.
In Britain, 650,000 extra deaths were registered in 2022, which represented a nine per cent increase compared to the more 'normal year' of 2019.
Peak doctors' body the Australian Medical Association (AMA) told Daily Mail Australia in September it was 'worrying' that deaths are climbing in Australia, but it reflected what is being seen overseas.
'We have seen the ABS statistics that mirror a worrying trend in other countries like the UK,' AMA President Professor Steve Robson said.
Prof Robson said it was unclear what was driving the excess deaths. 'There needs to be some research into why this is happening,' he said.
However, he pointed to some 'likely factors' that could be a hangover from the Covid period of isolation and restrictions. A major likely cause was that people either couldn't, or were scared of, seeing a doctor because of infection risk.
'People have avoided going to see the doctor for regular checks or to talk about a problem with their health or delayed a trip to the doctor and consequently seen their condition become more serious,' Prof Robson said.
'We need to do more to prepare the health system, both to address the impact of COVID on things like waiting lists but also to deal with those patients who have delayed accessing care and now require more serious intervention.'
Health Minister Mark Butler has been contacted for comment.
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