A new report from the CDC finds the U.S. has reported nearly 300,000 more deaths in 2020 than the typical number during the same period in previous years.
Defined as excess death, meaning “the number of persons who have died from all causes, in excess of the expected number of deaths for a given place and time,” the CDC said an estimated 299,028 excess deaths have occurred in the United States from late January through October 3, 2020, with two thirds of these attributed to COVID-19. (As of October 15, 216,025 deaths from COVID-19 have been reported in the United States, according to the CDC)
The largest percentage increases were seen among adults aged 25–44 years and among Hispanic or Latino (Hispanic) persons, the CDC said.
“These results provide information about the degree to which COVID-19 deaths might be underascertained and inform efforts to prevent mortality directly or indirectly associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, such as efforts to minimize disruptions to health care.”
Excess deaths reached their highest points to date during the weeks ending April 11 (40.4% excess) and August 8, 2020 (23.5% excess). Two thirds of excess deaths during the analysis period (66.2%; 198,081) were attributed to COVID-19 and the remaining third to other causes.
More analysis from the CDC report:
“Although more excess deaths have occurred among older age groups, relative to past years, adults aged 25–44 years have experienced the largest average percentage increase in the number of deaths from all causes from late January through October 3, 2020. The age distribution of COVID-19 deaths shifted toward younger age groups from May through August; however, these disproportionate increases might also be related to underlying trends in other causes of death.
Future analyses might shed light on the extent to which increases among younger age groups are driven by COVID-19 or by other causes of death. Among racial and ethnic groups, the smallest average percentage increase in numbers of deaths compared with previous years occurred among White persons (11.9%) and the largest for Hispanic persons (53.6%), with intermediate increases (28.9%–36.6%) among AI/AN, Black, and Asian persons. These disproportionate increases among certain racial and ethnic groups are consistent with noted disparities in COVID-19 mortality."
Data: Weekly numbers of deaths from all causes and from all causes excluding COVID-19 relative to the average expected number and the upper bound of the 95% prediction interval (A), and the weekly and total numbers of deaths from all causes and from all causes excluding COVID-19 above the average expected number and the upper bound of the 95% prediction interval (B) — National Vital Statistics System, United States, January–September 2020
FIGURE 2. Percentage change in the weekly number of deaths in 2020 relative to average in the same weeks during 2015–2019, by age group — United States, 2015–2019 and 2020
Citations: Rossen LM, Branum AM, Ahmad FB, Sutton P, Anderson RN. Excess Deaths Associated with COVID-19, by Age and Race and Ethnicity — United States, January 26–October 3, 2020. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. ePub: 20 October 2020. View the full report here.