TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Despite the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the number of pneumonia and influenza deaths in Taiwan fell to a 10-year low in 2020, according to a report published by the authoritative Annals of Internal Medicine Tuesday (Feb. 2).
A Taiwanese-Australian medical team discovered evidence to counter rumors that many coronavirus victims had gone unnoticed, CNA reported. The team led by Taipei Medical University Professor Wayne Gao (高志文) found that last year, 48.7 Taiwanese per 100,000 inhabitants died of influenza or pneumonia, fewer than the 56.8 recorded in 2019.
Not only was there a drop, but the figure for 2020 represented the lowest level for influenza and pneumonia deaths since 2010, Gao said. According to the report, since the number of deaths that could have been most likely to be connected to the coronavirus had dropped, it was clear that no mistakes had been made in the analysis.
The control of the pandemic in Taiwan had also made sure that no people had died due to neglect, as resources did not have to be concentrated on coronavirus patients at the expense of other patients, health officials said.
Gao’s team did notice an increase in the number of traffic casualties, a trend that began in 2017. From 8.4 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants in 2019, the figure climbed to 8.8 in 2020.
The research team wondered whether the more recent rise was the result of people avoiding public transport during the pandemic and switching to personal modes of transportation, CNA reported. Car sales improved, while use of the Taipei Rapid Transit system fell by 23 percent between March and May last year compared to the same period in 2019.