Yesterday, Nova Scotia released the monthly COVID Epidemiologic Summary for April.

The reporting of COVID deaths lags — the April summary has newly recorded deaths from as far back as September — and the revised death count for March has more than doubled, from 13 as counted in the March summary to 28 for March as recorded in the new April summary.

A table showing PCR positives, hospitalizations, and deaths for April and March
Credit: Nova Scotia Monthly COVID-19 Epidemiologic Summary

The April summary records just 12 deaths for April, with a table column that says this is a decrease of 16 deaths from the previous month. But just as the March death data was revised upward, almost certainly so too will the April death count be revised upward, and probably dramatically so, so this is a false representation of the death trend. (I don’t know what the purpose of including a “change from last month” column is if it isn’t to suggest a trend line.)

Possibly suggestive of an increase, not a decrease, in COVID activity is the fact that in April, 89 people were hospitalized because of COVID, an increase from 70 people hospitalized because of COVID in March.

With that caveat, of the 12 recorded deaths for April, 10 (83%) were aged 70 years or older. The summary does not explicitly state the ages of the other two, but comparing a table showing age distribution of deaths through the entire pandemic to the same table in the previous month’s summary shows that one new death of a person under 50 has been added — that may have occurred in April, but it might also be a newly recorded death from a previous month. It’s frustrating to have to try to tease out such information. Here are the two tables:

Hospitalization and death rates by age group, 1 July 2022 to 31 March 2023, as reported in the March summary Credit: Nova Scotia Public Health
Hospitalization and death rates by age group, 1 July 2022 to 30 April 2023, as reported in the April summary. Credit: Nova Scotia Public Health

Five of the 12 recorded deceased were people living in long-term care homes.

The summary notes that:

  • Nova Scotians aged 70+ are 29 times more likely to have been hospitalized compared to 18-49 years of age and are 22 times more likely to die compared to 50-69 years of age.
  • Nova Scotians who were unvaccinated or had not completed their primary series were hospitalized and died at approximately two times the rate (1.9 and 2.3, respectively) as those who received a booster within 168 days.

Tim Bousquet is the editor and publisher of the Halifax Examiner. Twitter @Tim_Bousquet Mastodon

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  1. I love The Examiner — you cover (intelligently) stories that other outlets don’t. But I would suggest that breathlessly reporting Covid-19 death statistics is no longer in the public interest compared to other issues. You report today that 28 people (with a median age of 84) died of Covid-19 in March 2023; but 900+ people died of other causes in NS that month. Perhaps it’s time for a few articles on cancer or heart disease?