So far during the pandemic, around 20% more people have died in the United States than the normal expectation in the period from March to August, and about 67% of them were coronavirus deaths, according to a research published by Steven Woolf, a professor at the Yale School of Public Health and the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine, and his colleagues.
The research published in the journal JAMA stated that the deaths in the US are very consistent year after year but from March 2020 to July 2020 the deaths were increased by nearly 20% and for about two-thirds of them, coronavirus was the main cause stated in the documents.
The researchers for the purpose of this research studied death data from US Census Bureau and the National Center for Health Statistics. In total, around 1.3 million people died in the period between March and August in the US, however, usually, around 1.1 million people die in that period, so an increase of 20% was observed.
The ten states in the US which had the highest percentage of excess deaths including coronavirus deaths included New Jersey, Louisiana, Mississippi, Delaware, Michigan, New York, Massachusetts, Arizona, Maryland, and Rhode Island. The increase in the percentage of deaths ranged from 65% in New York to 22% in Michigan and Rhode Island. The states having the highest death rate including Massachusetts, New York, and New Jersey also made up almost 30% of the excess deaths in the US, according to the researchers.
Woolf said on Monday that people who are skeptical about the number of coronavirus deaths and term them fake and think that the real deaths are much less than reported, this along with many other pieces of research show that the reality is quite opposite to their beliefs. He further added that there may have been cases where people who never contracted the virus died because of the disruptions that the coronavirus pandemic caused. These deaths included people who were not given proper care, who had acute emergencies, and people who committed suicide due to emotional crises.
The researchers wrote that in the states that reopened later due to surges of the virus in April experience shorter epidemics, while the states that chose to reopen earlier faced tougher consequences including an increase in excess deaths throughout the summer.
After analyzing the deaths, the researchers found that an increase was observed in causes of death other than the coronavirus, including an increase in the death rate due to heart disease which was observed in the period between the 21st of March and 11th of April in the US, and coincided with the surge in coronavirus during the spring. Moreover, death rates for dementia and Alzheimer’s disease also increased by two times and were observed initially during the 21st of March and 11th of April and then between the 6th of June and 25th of July, driven by the summer surge in some states.
The study had some limitations as provisional data was used for it and assumptions and inaccuracies were applied, yet these deaths truly reflect the human cost that the pandemic caused. The researchers wrote that the deaths due to coronavirus exceed the number of deaths by Vietnam and the Korean Wars, and the swine flu of 2009, and are approximately equal to the deaths caused by the World War II.