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Region XIII Caraga Had No Excess Deaths in 2020, But Soaring Deaths In 2021. Overall Excess Deaths Exceeded Covid-19 Deaths By 4.6x And Were 35% Above Forecast Levels With 5,980 Excess Deaths.
There were no excess deaths in 2020 in this region. 209 deaths were attributed to Covid-19 in 2020, 1302 in 2021, and 164 in 2022 (at end of July). The excess deaths cannot be explained by Covid-19.
Region XIII Caraga is located in the northeastern section of Mindanao. It includes the 5 provinces of Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, the Dinagat Islands, Surigao del Norte, and Surigao del Sur, as well as the highly urbanized city of Butuan. In 2020 it’s population was 2,804,788, which contributes 2.57% of the Philippines population.
I have conducted an evaluation of the expected1 and excess2 mortality in Region XIII, Caraga. Expected mortality rates for 2020 and 2021 were calculated using the Excel Forecast tool, using 5-year historical all cause mortality data, and compared against the actual 2020 and 2021 deaths. The excel forecast gives a forecast deaths based on historical patterns and a confidence upper and lower bound. The forecast mortality is a more accurate way to assess actual deaths than simply comparing to one or more previous years, because it is adjusted over time and with reference to typical patterns of deaths. Covid-19 deaths are presented with respect to total and excess deaths in 2020 and 2021. All source data are official public domain Philippines Government data3.
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In 2020 none of Caraga’s provinces had any overall excess deaths, and most were below the forecast levels, despite the lockdowns and travel restrictions that were enforced across the entire Philippines starting in March of 2020.
This situation changed dramatically in 2021 when this beautiful tropical region of the Philippines was stunned by 5,980 excess deaths; 35% above the forecast levels. There were excess deaths even starting from January of 2021, however, the deaths accelerated in May to June, and then absolutely soared in September to 2.6x the level seen in 2019 (the last typical death year). September saw 1,941 extra deaths above more typical levels of just over 1,200 to bring the total deaths that month to 3,179 souls lost. Deaths that may still increase in the final count, as the 2021 data is not yet fully compiled!
The table sets out the summary of 2020 and 2021 excess deaths for this region. Excess deaths exceeded Covid-19 attributed deaths by 2.9 to 5.8x. Covid-19 infections are known to be much higher risk for persons with multiple severe comorbidities. This means that the Covid-19 deaths usually occur in people who were already very unwell and with limited life expectancy, thus Covid-19 deaths may be part of the expected and not contribute much, if any, to the excess deaths.
Internationally it is known that there have been many deaths that were reported as deaths from Covid-19, which were actually just deaths with Covid-19. There were also cases where Covid-19 was simply assumed to be the cause of death without medical confirmation. This overreporting of Covid-19 deaths is surely also the case in the Philippines. The actual death toll from Covid-19 may be lower than reported, though numbers will probably never be known.
The deaths by province are now set out. Agusan del Norte and its industrialized City of Butuan showed similar patterns of excess deaths. Slightly above typical in April of 2021, rising in June, and then soaring in September, before apparently dropping off, in still likely incomplete data. Agusan Del Norte had 181 total Covid-19 deaths, with 146 of these occurring in 2021. Butuan had a total of 365 Covid-19 deaths, with 272 of these occurring in 2021. Peak deaths in Agusan Del Norte were 501 (vs. 174 in 2019) and in Butuan City were 561 (vs. 180 in 2019) in September, the highest fatality month!
Agusan Del Sur had below expected deaths in 2020. In 2021 it had excess deaths of 1,533 with deaths peaking at 2.6x above the 2019 September levels.
The peak deaths in the Dinagat Islands were in May and June of 2021! The Dinagat Islands have a small population of 10,621 (2020 Census) and death rates are typically low with historical levels approximately 50 to 60 persons a month. The deaths in May and June were at 107 and 154 (compared to 54 and 76 in the same months in 2019), surely a big blow for small communities to lose so many of their members unexpectedly. The 58 Covid-19 attributed deaths in 2021 could not explain the 212 excess deaths observed! If any of my readers have any information that may explain the earlier deaths peak in this island, please provide your comments below.
2021 excess deaths that rose considerably in May went on to peak in September were also seen in Surigao Del Norte and Surigao Del Sur, which experienced a combined tragedy of 2,755 excess deaths, 746 of these in September.
Covid-19 attributed deaths across the region are low in 2022, with only 164 reported up to 30th of July 2022.
The tragedy of excess, unexpected and early deaths, that has affected the Philippines did not bypass this lush region. What was the new and accelerating toxic exposure that did not happen in 2020 and only started and accelerated in 2021?
Of course it was the Covid-19 Vaccines! However, there is no acknowledgement of this from any official source. Instead the all out push to get everyone vaccinated and now boosted, only using mRNA products regardless of what products were used for the initial doses, continues unabated.
If the excess deaths are related to the vaccination, then the benefit of the vaccines in preventing covid-19 illness and deaths (an early theorized benefit already disproven, particularly for Omicron), is not outweighed by the real possibility that they caused this magnitude of excess deaths!
Expected All Cause Mortality are the normal deaths seen in any population. These are due to aging, accidents, typical illness patterns. Expected mortality is typically stable over time, changing only gradually as the population’s demographics change. Year on year changes are typically only a few low single digit % points.
Excess Mortality: these are deaths higher or above that which is expected from the normal historical trends. Typical causes can be war, natural catastrophe, an outbreak of infectious disease. When vulnerable persons in any place die earlier than expected, their deaths will show as an excess mortality. However, excess mortality is followed by a period of lower than usual mortality, while a new vulnerable population builds up. It is highly unusual for excess mortality in any population to be sustained over a long period. Excess mortality is an excellent indicator of overall population health and well being.
All source data are from official Philippines Government data, taken directly and sorted for presentation. Vital statistics on deaths were taken from Philippines Statistics Authority (psa.gov.ph) public domain data with latest release for 2021 deaths on 13 August 2022. All Covid-19 death data is taken from the Philippines Department of Health (DOH) Covid-19 Tracker (last data release on 30 July 2022).