A recent report found that coronavirus caused two-thirds of the almost 300,000 higher-than-average U.S. deaths this year, per a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
These “excess deaths” include lives lost from any cause, and can give a better idea of the mortality associated with the pandemic, study authors wrote. Deaths counts directly owing to the pandemic are prone to underestimates due to inaccuracies in death certificates or testing shortages, among other limitations, the agency noted.
The CDC compared weekly death data from its National Vital Statistics System (NVSS) from Jan. 26 to Oct. 3, 2020 to 2015-2019, and calculated the percentage change.
During the timeframe under study, the CDC identified 299,028 excess deaths in the U.S, which peaked in mid-April and again in the week of Aug. 8.
“The largest percentage increases were seen among adults aged 25–44 years (at 26.5%) and among Hispanic or Latino (Hispanic) persons (at 53.6%),” study authors wrote, adding that the disproportionate toll among minorities is in line with previous findings.
In comparison, excess deaths among adults over 85 were up by 14.7%, and among White people, for example, deaths were 11.9% higher than average.
The CDC said from May to August, there was an uptick in coronavirus deaths among younger people, but trends in other mortality causes could be at play.
“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,” study authors wrote.
A separate study by researchers from Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) and Yale University previously came to the same conclusion; COVID-19 caused 67% of U.S. excess deaths. However, their data did not include deaths in September or October.