Deaths from unknown causes is now the top killer in Alberta
Several doctors and a civil liberties lawyer in the Canadian province are raising concerns around the growing trend of deaths labelled as ill-defined or of unknown causes after an unprecedented increase in such deaths was recorded in 2021.
That category has overtaken dementia, which had been in the top spot since 2016, and ‘Covid-19’ which was added to Alberta’s death tally in 2020.
A study looking at excess deaths in Alberta during the Covid pandemic was quietly released in March in the International Journal of Infectious Diseases.
CTV news reports: The unknown causes of death category only began appearing on the list in 2019 — there is no record of it ranking before then, dating back to 2001.
“I think it’s probably multifactorial, so there’s probably many things playing into that,” said Dr. Daniel Gregson, an associate professor in the Cumming School of Medicine at the University of Calgary, specializing in infectious diseases and microbiology.
Gregson believes those factors include lack of resources to determine the cause of death in certain cases, delayed access to healthcare services and post-COVID complications.
“We have this impression of surviving COVID and that’s the end of it, and that’s not necessarily true,” he told CTV News.
Gregson points to a large study out of the U.S. that found people who had COVID-19 are at a higher risk of heart disease, stroke, pulmonary embolisms and death compared to those who haven’t been infected. The risk is even higher for those who end up in hospital or the ICU with COVID.
“We do expect that there will be deaths that aren’t directly related to COVID, but indirectly related to COVID to occur after the diagnosis in patients after the first month of infection,” he said.