CORONAVIRUS DISEASE 2019 (COVID-19) was among the leading causes of death in the Philippines last year, preliminary data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) showed.
Registered deaths due to COVID-19 accounted for 27,967 deaths, or 4.9% of the total 575,875 deaths tallied in 2020. This compares with other leading causes of death last year that include ischaemic heart diseases (99,680 deaths), neoplasms/cancer (62,289), cerebrosvascular diseases (59,736), diabetes (37,265), pneumonia (32,574), and hypertensive diseases (29,511).
Deaths associated with COVID-19 are classified into two: those with virus identified and not identified at the time of a person’s death.
COVID-19 with “virus not identified” accounted for 19,758 cases or 3.4% of the total deaths, making it the seventh leading cause of death in the country last year.
Meanwhile, COVID-19 cases “with virus identified” tallied 8,209 cases or 1.4% of the total, ranking 16th overall.
According to the PSA, figures on COVID-19 deaths were based on the descriptions written on the medical certificate portion of all death certificates received and certified by local health officers with a cut-off date of Feb. 26, 2021.
This is different from the Department of Health’s (DoH) figures wherein it collects data through a surveillance system and only includes confirmed cases.
Among the 17 regions, Metro Manila registered the most number of COVID-19 deaths with 12,582 or 45% of the total deaths attributed to the virus.
Broken down, Quezon City recorded the most number of COVID-19 deaths with 2,566 (20.4% of the total), followed by the City of Manila (1,810 or 14.4%), Pasig City (1,447 or 11.5%), Makati City (970 or 7.7%), and Caloocan City (906 or 7.2%).
Other regions that posted relatively high deaths were Calabarzon with 6,914 (with a 24.7% share), Central Luzon with 2,576 (9.2% share), Central Visayas with 1,863 (6.7% share), and Western Visayas with 1,080 (3.9% share).
On the other hand, the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao recorded the least number of COVID-19 deaths with 37.
Statistics posted by the DoH as of March 15 showed a total of 1.125 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines are present in the Philippines, 96% of which are already distributed and 215,997 are already administered. Metro Manila has received the most vaccine doses so far with 278,870.
As of March 16, the DoH reported 631,320 confirmed cases with total deaths reaching 12,848 and recoveries tallying 560,736.
OTHER CAUSES OF DEATH
Despite the pandemic, the 575,875 deaths tallied last year were the lowest in five years or since 2015’s 560,605. It was also below the average registered deaths of 586,630 between 2015 and 2019.
The number of deaths attributed to ischaemic heart diseases — the top cause of death in the country — increased by 2.3% to 99,680 last year from 97,745 in 2019. On the other hand, deaths due to neoplasms/cancer (62,289) and cerebrovascular diseases (59,736) were lower in 2020 by 9.3% and 6%, respectively, compared with the previous year.
The PSA also noted that among the top 10 leading causes of death, the number of registered deaths due to ischaemic heart diseases (99,680) and diabetes (37,265) have exceeded their respective five-year averages of 82,547 and 32,991, respectively. — Ana Olivia A. Tirona