Jersey has one of the highest covid-linked death rates in the world for an island nation relative to its population size, analysis by Express has found. But overall, the island is on track for a 20-year low in the number of people who died in 2020.
When adjusted for population numbers, Jersey’s number of covid-related 'deaths per million' exceeds 500, placing it second only to the United Kingdom, whose mortality rate per million is more than 1,000.
The figure was calculated by taking the total number of covid-linked deaths per nation divided by the most recent figure for population. This is then multiplied to provide an average 'deaths per million' figure.
The Republic of Ireland, Gibraltar, Malta and the Bahamas follow Jersey in the ranking, with between around 480 to 450 per million.
With a total of 25 deaths, the Isle of Man has just under 300 deaths per million.
Meanwhile, fellow Crown Dependency, and Jersey’s closest neighbour Guernsey, has a death rate less than half of Jersey’s – having recorded 13 deaths, its rate per million is 206.
The only other island jurisdictions with a death rate in the 200s are Cape Verde, Bahrain and Dominican Republic.
All of the above beat the far more populous jurisdictions of New Zealand (around 5m people, 25 deaths), which has been lauded for its pandemic approach, Australia (25m people, 909 deaths), Japan (126m people, 3,996 deaths).
The standard for reporting deaths as being linked with covid is that an individual has tested positive for the virus within a set period before passing away. It does not mean that covid is the sole cause of death, with many of those passing away suffering from other conditions - but it could be a contributing factor.
In Jersey, 59 covid-related deaths have been recorded – 32 of which have been in the general hospital, and 22 in care homes.
While the number of deaths linked with covid has been high compared to other island jurisdictions, Jersey appears to be on track to record a 20-year low in the number of overall deaths for 2020.
While the final statistics for 2020 are still being finalised, and will eventually include deaths of Jersey residents away from the island, figures released by the Office of the Superintendent Registrar said there had been 674 deaths between 1 January 2020 and 27 December – the lowest figure since the year 2000.
Previously, the lowest number recorded had been in 2007, when 707 deaths were recorded in Jersey.
Pictured: There were 674 deaths in the island in 2020.
Dr Andrew Mitchell, a Consultant Cardiologist at the hospital, believes there are a number of reasons for this drop in mortality.
One of those is that the pandemic and the focus on health that followed it prompted more people to look after themselves.
“What covid did is everyone is generally quite scared,” Dr Mitchell said. “We know historically that people are poorly compliant with their medication, many people do not take their meds but we know they work.
“With the pandemic, people started taking their tablets properly.”
Pictured: The pandemic seems to have prompted more people to look after themselves and take the medication required to manage their conditions.
As an example, Dr Mitchell explained that in the first wave of the pandemic, the number of heart attacks went down by 50% in the UK, a sudden drop which could be explained by people taking the tablets they need to prevent heart attacks, but also because people were not travelling as much.
“I do think flying is generally bad for people,” Dr Mitchell said.
The reduction in pollution experienced globally could also have played a part in the number of deaths.
There is also another element specific to the island which helped keep mortality rates low: the quality of the local primary care.
“Another good thing in Jersey is we have really good GPs,” Dr Mitchell said. “Having this close community allows people to have the care they need.
“Primary care has done a great job of keeping everyone well.”
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