COVID-19 linked to increased all-cause mortality in young adults

From March to July 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic was associated with increased all-cause mortality among 25- to 44-year-olds in the United States, according to a research letter published online Dec. 16 in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Jeremy Samuel Faust, M.D., from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, and colleagues examined excess mortality by calculating projected monthly expected deaths for 2020. All-cause and COVID-19 mortality were obtained for March 1, 2020, to July 31, 2020; COVID-19 deaths were compared to unintentional opioid deaths in 2018.

The researchers found that among U.S. adults aged 25 to 44 years, there were 76,088 all-cause deaths from March 1 to July 31, 2020, which was 11,899 more than the expected 64,189 deaths (incident rate ratio, 1.19). Nationally and overall in every U.S. Department of Health and Human Services region, excess mortality occurred in every month of the study period. There were 4,535 COVID-19 deaths recorded nationally among adults aged 25 to 44 years, accounting for 38 percent of the excess mortality. In three HHS regions, deaths due to COVID-19 exceeded 2018 unintentional opioid deaths during one month in 2020.

“In some regions that experienced substantial COVID-19 surges, COVID-19 deaths among U.S. adults ages 25 to 44 equaled or exceeded the number of deaths caused by unintentional opioid overdoses in 2018,” Faust said in a statement. “In these regions, COVID-19 appears to have temporarily rivaled or surpassed the usual leading cause of death among U.S. adults ages 25 to 44.”

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