As Covid-19 causes a significant increase in death rates for much of the world, New Zealand is likely one of the few countries where the global pandemic has caused a reduction in deaths.
Nearly 1200 fewer people have died this year than had at the same point in 2019, data from Stats NZ shows.
The data show the weekly number of deaths from all causes. As of July 20, 17,955 people had died this year.
It is the lowest absolute figure since 2016; when accounting for population growth, it is the lowest death rate per 100,000 people in at least 10 years, the period in which data is available.
It puts New Zealand in an enviable position. While other countries find hidden Covid-19-related deaths in excess mortality figures – which, in hard-hit areas, can be more than 50 per cent – New Zealand’s death rate is running around five per cent lower than the average rate over the previous five years.
There were two working hypotheses, said Professor Nick Wilson, a public health researcher at the University of Otago: Fewer respiratory diseases in circulation, and a lack of air pollution.
“The remarkable thing was that lockdown seems to have just stopped a lot of circulating viruses,” Wilson said.
“Lockdown must have just stopped these things... There will have been fewer elderly people dying of pneumonia because of reduced circulating viruses.”
Data from overseas showed death rates rose alongside air pollution, Wilson said. New Zealand's air quality increased markedly during lockdown.
Новая Зеландия при этом агрессивно отслеживала случаи заболевания, изолировала, устраивала локдаун, заставляла мыть руки и носить маски. И вуаля - люди стали меньше умирать, в том числе от сезонного гриппа и заразных заболеваний. И никакого кислого воздуха в масках, который убивает!