PSA list shows fewer deaths in PH in first half of 2020
The number of Filipinos who died of different causes in the first half of 2020 was smaller but late death registrations surged in March and April, the height of COVID-19 lockdowns.
Data released by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) showed 259,426 deaths were registered in the first half of 2020.
The new PSA data released on Friday (July 31) showed that the number of registered deaths between January and June declined from 309,010 in the first six months of 2019.
The PSA, however, said the number of late death registrations, or those reported 30 days after the deaths, “showed a dramatic rise” in March and April.
The government enforced enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in Luzon and other parts of the country with high COVID-19 cases from mid-March to May, imposing stringent restrictions on movement of people and non-essential goods as well as putting a halt to some government operations.
National Statistician Claire Dennis S. Mapa acknowledged that it could have been more tedious to register deaths during the ECQ.
The PSA’s data showed that as of July 24, late death registrations for the month of March reached 4,073, jumping 282 percent from 1,066 a year ago.
Late registration of deaths in April, meanwhile, climbed 182 percent to 3,522 from a year ago’s 1,250.
“Since the period for timely registration of deaths, which occurred in March until May this year, has already ended, only the number of late registrations for deaths occurring during this period are bound to increase as more deaths may still be registered in the coming days,” the PSA said.
“While the period for timely registration of death occurrences in June is still open, no late registration was recorded yet for the month,” the PSA added.
Most of the country was placed on a less-restrictive general community quarantine (GCQ) since June, although minimum health standards remained.
The PSA data did not include the causes of death, so it did not show how many of the deaths reported during the first half had been attributed to COVID-19.
“We will release [a report on causes of death] soon,” the PSA said.
“The reports from the field on individual causes of death goes through a strict checking and encoding protocol, following the World Health Organization (WHO) process, so the cause of death is recorded accurately,” Mapa told Inquirer on Friday.
“But I am pushing my team to release the soonest,” Mapa said.
The PSA data were “obtained from the timely and late registered deaths” from city or municipal registrars nationwide and submitted to the Office of the Civil Registrar General through PSA offices “for encoding.”
Deaths of Filipinos overseas were not reflected in the PSA data but those who had lived abroad but died in the Philippines are on the list.
The Department of Health (DOH) on Friday reported that COVID-19 deaths totalled 2,023 to date.
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