Further 77 deaths with Covid-19 recorded in State last month

August total higher than most optimistic projections set out in Nphet modelling

There were 77 recorded deaths from Covid-19 in the State during August, the latest official figures show. Photograph: iStock

There were 77 recorded deaths from Covid-19 in the State during August, the latest official figures show. Photograph: iStock

 

There were 77 recorded deaths from Covid-19 in the State during August, exceeding the most optimistic projections on fatalities set out the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet).

There were 20 deaths from the disease in the past week, two more than in the previous week. A total of 5,112 people in the State have died with Covid-19 since the first pandemic death was recorded in March of last year.

Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HSPC) data on deaths has published on a weekly rather than a daily basis since the HSE cyberattack in May.

In its modelling scenarios produced in July, Nphet predicted there would be a minimum of 60 deaths in August in the most optimistic scenario where there was moderate social mixing and low transmissability of the virus.

That was based on the most optimistic prediction of 23,000 cases for the month. The actual number of cases in August was 53,260.

This was more than the 46,000 cases predicted in the second scenario envisaged by Nphet where there was higher social mixing, but level of transmissions remained low. In that scenario Nphet predicted 105 deaths.

Higher transmission

In its third scenario, where there was moderate social mixing but higher transmission of the virus, Nphet predicted 225 deaths in August.

In its most pessimistic scenario of higher social mixing and higher transmission of the virus, it envisaged 390 deaths based on 197,000 cases for the month.

The number of average deaths a day in the State from Covid-19 is 2.5 at present. At the peak of the first wave in April of last year it was more than 70 a day.

The case fatality rate (the number of deaths as a percentage of cases) has fallen from 3.62 per cent in February to 0.14 per cent in August, reflecting the impact of vaccination on vulnerable people.

Northern Ireland continues to have a much higher death rate with 43 fatalities from Covid-19 in the last seven days, the equivalent of 111 deaths in the Republic. There were 51 deaths in the previous week in the North.

Northern Ireland has one of the highest death rates from Covid-19 in developed economies with fatalities 80 per cent higher per capita than the rest of the UK and more than double that of the Republic.

In a paper published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) on Tuesday, Mark Tully, professor of public health at Ulster University, noted that Northern Ireland had higher levels of chronic disease and social deprivation than other parts of the UK, which could also be influencing its death rate.