Non-COVID-19-Related Deaths Up, Too

TUESDAY, Nov. 24, 2020 — Between March and May 2020, there was a significant increase in non-COVID-19-related deaths over previous years, according to a study published in the December issue of Public Health.

Sheldon H. Jacobson, Ph.D., and Janet A. Jokela, M.D., both from the University of Illinois at Urbana, quantified non-COVID-19-related excess deaths by age group and gender. For the analysis, the authors used the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provisional death data from March 1, 2020, through May 30, 2020, and compared results to 2019 data estimates.

The researchers found a significant increase in excess deaths in 2020 for men aged 15 to 59 years and for women aged 25 to 44 years. This excess number of non-COVID-19 deaths was seen for six of 18 age and gender cohorts. For girls aged 5 to 14 years old, there was a decrease in deaths.

“The concern is that excess deaths will continue to occur during the pandemic, whether it’s because people are delaying care for other conditions or because some COVID-19 deaths are going undetected,” Jokela said in a statement. “This is a phenomenon that requires ongoing monitoring and investigation.”

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