According to a new CDC study, death rates in people ages 25 to 44 are 26.5% higher this year than in previous years
While the official counts from agencies like Johns Hopkins University and the CDC say that just over 220,000 Americans have died of COVID-19, it’s likely that the actual toll of the pandemic is much, much higher than that. We still don’t know what the long-term health implications will be for people who have recovered from the coronavirus (some of whom have shown heart damage that scientists say may be irreversible). And we know that as the pandemic rages on, people are dying from other illnesses because they’re avoiding doctors’ offices and hospitals, or because hospitals are overrun with COVID patients and there aren’t enough doctors (or enough PPE) to treat everyone.
It will likely be years before we know the true toll of this pandemic. But the CDC is already trying to find out, and just published a study that shows around 299,000 more people have died in the U.S. this year than would be expected in a typical year. About two-thirds of those are coronavirus deaths, and the rest have come from other causes, the report said.
But what’s really shocking about the new CDC study is that it shows how death rates have changed this year among different groups, and none of the news is good. Despite many politicians (including our president) insisting that COVID-19 doesn’t effect young people, the CDC study showed that death rates for people ages 25 to 44 are 26.5 percent higher this year than they’ve been in previous years.
The rates are even higher for Latino and Black people, the CDC study says, as many scientists and health professionals have noted throughout the pandemic. But this study serves as just more evidence that economic policies aimed at protecting the “most vulnerable” while keeping most people at work are misguided and deadly. We are all vulnerable to this disease.
“The number of people dying from this pandemic is higher than we think,” said Steven Woolf, director emeritus of the Center on Society and Health at Virginia Commonwealth University, who has also been studying American mortality during the pandemic. “This study shows it. Others have, as well.”
Woolf says the “official” coronavirus death toll could very well hit 400,000 by the end of the year, especially with the spike in cases we’re now seeing across the Midwest. New cases are currently being recorded at a rate of about 60,000 per day. And even though deaths tend to come weeks later than big waves of positive tests and hospitalizations, currently, nearly 1,200 Americans are dying from the coronavirus every day. That includes young people. It includes children. The new CDC study is clear: No one is immune (not even the president), so social distance, wear a mask, and take care of each other.