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Fewer Australians have died from the diseases which usually kill the most, during the pandemic, figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) show.

Data shows decreases across the top-five leading causes of death and a reduction in the overall mortality rate, the ABS said.

Director of Mortality Statistics at the ABS, Lauren Moran, said while the top-five causes in Australia remained the same in 2020, with heart disease still the leading cause of death, it was the first time the rate of death for each had all fallen since 2008-09.

Dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, ranked second, while strokes, lung cancer and chronic lower respiratory diseases rounded out the top-five.

“COVID-19 was the 38th ranked cause of death in 2020 with 898 deaths recorded through the civil registration system,” she said.

“With fewer than 900 deaths from COVID-19 in 2020 and public health measures suppressing the spread of other infectious diseases, deaths from many causes also decreased.”

There were also decreases in 2020 in deaths from preventable causes such as suicide, drug overdoses and motor vehicle accidents.

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