Why ‘Covid-19’ is written on death certificates in spite of other ailments

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The Ministerial Advisory Committee (MAC) is recommending making a distinction between patients who have died as having Covid-19 present, Covid-19-related, or Covid-19 caused, as debate over why no other cause of death is registered on death certificates of people who die with other serious conditions besides the virus.

“So, now we can relook at how many of the deaths are associated with, but not directly caused by Covid-19,” said Dr Keith Cloete, the head of the Department of Health in the Western Cape.

He added Covid-19 had been declared a “natural cause of death”, as opposed to unnatural deaths like a trauma. 

Cloete said with a natural death an autopsy was not indicated, so they do not have to find other reasons for the death. 

He added with an “unexplained death”, a sample was analysed, and if it was positive for Covid-19, then that too was recorded as a Covid-19 death.

Cloete said of the five people aged 19 and younger whom the department had recorded as Covid-19 deaths, each one showed a clear indication the death was either a complication of something else, or a complicated comorbidity. 

There were 1 787 children with Covid-19 in Western Cape out of around 34 000 cases.

He added of those, 140 were hospitalised, saying these cases had nothing to do with the return to school.

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