Deaths Up in 2020, Even When Accounting for COVID-19

Men ages 15 to 64 years of age were particularly hard-hit by excess deaths, while children were spared

TUESDAY, July 27, 2021 (HealthDay News) — Even accounting for COVID-19 deaths, there were more deaths in 2020 for individuals younger than 65 years old than in previous years, according to a study published online June 30 in Health Care Management Science.

Sheldon H. Jacobson, Ph.D., and Janet A. Jokela, M.D., from the University of Illinois at Urbana, assessed COVID-19 deaths and non-COVID-19 deaths during a 39-week period beginning March 1, 2020, and averaged during the five years from 2015 to 2019 to assess the risk for COVID-19-related death in individuals younger than 44 years old.

The researchers found that younger people (<15 years old) experienced the same or lower death risk between 2020 and the average from 2015 to 2019, suggesting that societal changes were protective for some of them. When removing COVID-19 deaths from the 2020 death counts, individuals aged 15 to 64 years experienced increased death risk for 2020 versus the 2015 to 2019 average. While the absolute number of COVID-19 deaths for this group was small, 15- to 44-year-old males experienced a significant increase in their death risk.

“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,” the authors write.

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