New research from Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) shows that excess, non-COVID-19 deaths increased over the course of the pandemic. The authors theorized that the pandemic caused “disruptions” that led to these deaths.
Non-COVID deaths accounted for over thirty percent of the overall excess deaths. The most significant non-COVID causes of death were heart disease, Alzheimer disease, and dementia.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defined excess deaths as “the difference between the observed numbers of deaths in specific time periods and expected numbers of deaths in the same time periods.” Researchers draw comparisons from previous years’ death counts. According to the CDC, these numbers relate to the pandemic’s potential effect on non-COVID-19 mortality rates.
The VCU article was accepted for publication last month and published online last week. Their previous research noted that non-COVID-19 deaths increased in states that also had the most COVID-19 deaths. This research letter accounts for the excess deaths in relation to states reopening.
According to the report, three states attributed to thirty percent of excess deaths and experienced “the shortest epidemics.” Included in the top ten states with the highest per capita of excess deaths are New York and Michigan.
The pandemic is also causing other deadly issues.
As of September, Virginia’s rate of overdoses have nearly eclipsed the total overdoses for all of 2019. From January to March of this year, overdoses in Virginia increased by 11 percent statewide. Regionally, overdose increases ranged from 6 percent to 32 percent.
Subsequent monthly updates show a dramatic increase in overdoses, especially from May to September. Overdoses totaled over 1,700 for several months – far higher than any in the past five years. In 2019, the total overdoses amounted to 14,542.
As of September, the total number of 2020 overdoses amounted to 13,673. This time last year, overdoses only totaled 10,738.
It is unclear whether suicides have increased as well. No available data exists for suicides committed in 2020. However, a CDC report indicates a sharp overall increase in suicidal feelings and other adverse emotional states.
Several months into the pandemic, researchers found that the pandemic lockdowns and restrictions may destroy seven to ninety times more years of human life than they will save.
The Virginia Star asked the VDH for more information on the pandemic’s impact on overdose and suicide rates. VDH officials didn’t respond with comment by press time.
Virginia remains in Phase III, requiring six to ten feet of social distancing, face coverings, and limited social gatherings of 50 percent occupancy up to 250 individuals.
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