US says nearly 300,000 excess deaths in 2020

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has published planning scenarios to help public health officials address the coronavirus. Some experts consider these estimates optimistic.
The CDC estimates nearly 300,000 more people have died in the US this year, many of them as a result of COVID-19 [File: Brian Snyder/Reuters]

The CDC said 299,028 more people died between January 26 and October 3 than the average numbers from the previous four years (2015 – 2019) would have indicated.

That compares with about 216,000 COVID-19 deaths reported by October 15.

“This might underestimate the total impact of the pandemic on mortality,” it said.

The report found excess deaths have occurred in the US every week since March 2020 reaching a peak in the weeks ended April 11 and August 8. Excess deaths are defined as the number of people who have died from all causes, in excess of the expected number of deaths for a given place and time.

In some countries, operations have been deferred and access to treatment for other illnesses has become more difficult as hospitals have struggled to cope with the burden of treating those with COVID-19. Fear of contracting the disease has also made some people wary of seeking treatment.https://imasdk.googleapis.com/js/core/bridge3.417.2_en.html#goog_1198952151Play Video

“Estimates of excess deaths attributed to COVID-19 might underestimate the actual number directly attributable to COVID-19 because deaths from other causes might represent misclassified COVID-19 related deaths or deaths indirectly caused by the pandemic,” the report noted.

“Specifically, deaths from circulatory diseases, Alzheimer disease and dementia, and respiratory diseases have increased in 2020 relative to past years, and it is unclear to what extent these represent misclassified COVID-19 deaths or deaths indirectly related to the pandemic (because of disruptions in health care access or utilization).”

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