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Death rate in 2020 highest in 20 years, minister reveals

Death rate rises: Walter Roban, the home affairs minister (File photograph)

The death rate on the island in 2020 hit its highest levels for at least 20 years, the home affairs minister said yesterday.

Walter Roban said the number of deaths rose by 31, or 5.8 per cent, to 566 last year.

Mr Roban, speaking in the House of Assembly as he tabled the 2020 Registrar General’s report, did not single out the Covid-19 pandemic, but said there were 10 deaths because of the coronavirus in 2020.

Excess deaths – the increase in deaths in 2020 compared to the average number of deaths in the previous five years – were even higher.

There was an average of 503 deaths between 2015 and 2019, so deaths in 2020 were 12.4 per cent higher than the expected number.

Excess deaths are a measure of how many more people have died than would be expected based on the previous few years.

The British Heart Federation said the measure was a good way to estimate the impact that Covid-19 and had been used worldwide as another way to gauge the effects of the pandemic.

The BHF website said: “It’s particularly useful because the causes of deaths during the pandemic may not always have been accurately recorded and reported – doctors are still learning about the virus and may misdiagnose some illnesses as Covid-19, or miss some cases entirely.

“But the total number of deaths is not affected by this.”

The BHF added: “Equally importantly, measuring excess deaths allows us to more fully understand the impact that Covid-19 has had on the UK, including those people who have died from healthcare being harder to access – such as surgical procedures and life-saving treatments being rescheduled or cancelled – or those who put off going to accident and emergency wards with symptoms of a heart attack.”

Mr Roban added there was a slight increase in births with 540, or 2.9 per cent, more than the 525 births recorded in 2019.

There was one baby born at the parents’ home in 2020 compared to two in 2019.

There were 432 births with at least one Bermudian parent and 108, or 20 per cent of the births, had parents who were both non-Bermudian.

But, despite the rise in new arrivals, 2020 was the third year in a row that there were more deaths than births.

The pandemic also took its toll on visitors’ marriages – so-called destination weddings.

There were just 48 marriages where neither spouse was a resident, compared to 195 in 2019, which broke a five-year trend where marriages between non-residents exceeded all other marriages combined.

The number of marriages dropped from 386 in 2019 to 248.

There were 172 marriages between spouses who were both resident and 28 between residents and non-residents, compared to 195 and 38 respectively in 2019.

The number of same-sex marriages was ten, compared to six in 2019.

The Registry-General’s Office performed nine of them as civil ceremonies and one was a religious ceremony conducted by an island marriage officer at an outside venue.

Mr Roban said three of the same-sex marriages were between people who were both residents, six were between non-residents and one was between a resident and non-resident.

Marriages on Bermuda-registered ships also plummeted 84.2 per cent from 372 to 70.

None were same-sex marriages.

There were eight domestic partnership ceremonies performed last year.

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Published June 19, 2021 at 7:54 am (Updated June 19, 2021 at 7:54 am)

Death rate in 2020 highest in 20 years, minister reveals

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