Australia ranks third in list of countries with highest number of COVID deaths among aged care residents – but 500,000 deaths in aged care homes worldwide

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A tally that no one wants to top.

75% of the country’s coronavirus deaths have been in residential care – with only Slovenia (81%) and Canada (80%) recording a greater toll, according to the latest research by the International Long-term Care Policy Network, based at the London School of Economic and Political Science.

At the time of publication, Australia had recorded 682 COVID-19 deaths in aged care out of a total 904 deaths.

“In 2020 there were approximately 208,500 people living in aged care residential accommodation in Australia, so the numbers of deaths so far would amount to 0.32%,” the report states.

Low case numbers in the community linked to lower cases in aged care

There was a wide variation in the proportion of deaths among aged care residents depending on the country which generally linked back to the proportion of cases in the community.

In the US where cases have hit over 8 million with 218,000 deaths, 41% of deaths have been in aged care homes. Britain – with 674,000 cases and 43,000 deaths – recorded 44% of its deaths in residential care. In contrast, Singapore – with 57,000 cases and 28 deaths – saw only 11% of its deaths in aged care.

Canada was the anomaly – recording 80% of its deaths in residential care despite relatively low case and death numbers compared to other countries.

Aged care residents make up 46% of COVID deaths worldwide

Overall based on 21 countries worldwide, aged care residents made up 46% of COVID deaths worldwide.

Just consider that for a moment: while data doesn’t cover every country, Johns Hopkins University currently has the global death toll at 1.097 million.

That equates to 504,620 deaths – a staggering number.

Seen in this light, Australia’s aged care deaths make up just 0.1% of global deaths among aged care residents.

While no deaths would be preferable, the numbers appear to be a credit to the country’s aged care sector.


About Author

Lauren is the Editor at DCM Group and has guided its range of media including The Weekly SOURCE, The Daily RESOURCE and The Donaldson Sisters since 2016. With 13 years’ experience as a journalist, editor and commentator, Lauren is the only journalist to have attended every session of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, producing 300 issues of the subscriber-only The Daily COMMISSION which offers exclusive insights and analysis of the issues surrounding the Royal Commission and the aged care sector.