Thinking out loud - shouldn't nearly every country (including ours) have their highest death count this year since *insert abnormal catastrophic event date here*?. If a country's population has been growing for some time, then surely there are more deaths year-on-year? I expect ours to be bigger next year than it was this year - perhaps not by 15%, but surely logic says if more people are born, more are going to die?
Weirdly enough, the Coronovirus (well, the lockdown to be more specific) has actually lowered New Zealand's overall death count, - "1200 fewer people have died this year than had at the same point in 2019".
Thanks to the lockdown we've had fewer flu and viruses in the community, less car crashes etc