Beyond COVID-19 deaths during the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States

Sheldon H Jacobson, Janet A Jokela

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

COVID-19 has disrupted society and health care systems, creating a fertile environment for deaths beyond the virus. The year 2020 will prove to be the most deadly year on record in the United States. Direct deaths due to COVID-19 have been well documented and reported. Older people (those over 65) have been hardest hit, with over 80% of the COVID-19 deaths in this age group. What has been less clear is the impact on those under 65 years old, particularly those under 44 years old. This study considers both COVID-19 deaths and non-COVID-19 deaths during a 39 weeks period beginning 1 March in both 2020 and averaged over the five years from 2015 to 2019. Across 22 age and gender cohorts, death risks are compared using odds ratios. The results indicate that younger people (those under 15 years old) have experienced the same or a reduction in death risk between 2020 and the average from 2015 to 2019, suggesting that societal changes were protective for some of them. With all COVID-19 deaths removed from the 2020 death counts, 15-64 year olds experienced increased death risk between 2020 and the 2015 to 2019 average. For example, 15-44 year old males experienced a significant increase in their death risk, even though the absolute number of COVID-19 deaths for this cohort is small. The key take away from this study is that COVID-19 resulted in a large number of additional deaths in 2020 compared to the average from 2015 to 2019, both directly from the virus and indirectly due to societal responses to the virus.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalHealth Care Management Science
Early online dateJun 30 2021
DOIs
StateE-pub ahead of print - Jun 30 2021

Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • Odds ratios
  • Risk analysis
  • Covid-19

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Professions(all)
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)

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