University of Illinois Study Finds Rise in Non-Virus-Related Death Rates for Women in Early Months of the Pandemic

A new study by scholars at the University of Illinois found that death rates in the United States increased during the first months of the COVID-19 pandemic at a rate that exceeded the increase in deaths related to the virus.

The authors found that death rates for 17 of 18 cohorts of age and gender groups were higher than was the case in the same months of 2019. The only age and gender group that showed a decline in death rates was for girls ages 5 to 14. The authors note that the main cause of death for girls in this age group is accidents. Thus, the nationwide lockdown and stay-at-home orders undoubtedly resulted in fewer accidents leading to the deaths of young girls. It is not known why there was not a similar effect for young boys.

For women in the 25-to-34 and 35-to-44 years age groups there was a statistically significant increase in deaths not related specifically to the virus. The authors state that “the key takeaway from this analysis is that excess deaths across multiple age and gender cohorts occurred beyond what has been attributed to COVID-19. These excess deaths indicate that people across many age and gender cohorts have died unexpectedly.”

The authors speculate that delays or avoidance of non-COVID-19 medical care during the pandemic may have been a contributing factor in the higher death rates.

The full study, “Non-COVID-19 Excess Deaths by Age and Gender in the United States During the First Three Months of the COVID-19 Pandemic,”  was published on the website of the journal Public Health. It may be accessed here.

Filed Under: Research/Study


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