CDC Estimates Over 1 Million Excess Deaths in United States Since COVID-19 Pandemic

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that there have been over 1 million excess deaths in the United States since February 2020 linked to the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to CDC data, which is updated on a weekly basis, the number of excess deaths in the country was 1,045,389 as of Feb. 17.

Excess death is a term used in epidemiology and public health. It refers to the number of people who die from any cause during a specific period of time and is compared with a historical baseline from recent years.

The state with the highest number of excess deaths since February 2020 is California, which accounts for 104,553, followed shortly by Texas, with 98,271 excess deaths, according to the CDC. Hawaii has the lowest number of excess deaths with 1,372.

The CDC says that estimates of excess deaths “can provide information about the burden of mortality potentially related to the COVID-19 pandemic, including deaths that are directly or indirectly attributed to COVID-19.

“Excess deaths are typically defined as the difference between the observed numbers of deaths in specific time periods and expected numbers of deaths in the same time periods.”

The CDC said the excess deaths “were calculated using Farrington surveillance algorithms.”

While the majority of the excess deaths are due to COVID-19, an increased number of deaths were also due to a number of other conditions during the pandemic, according to the CDC.

These included heart disease, hypertension, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, and a number of other ailments, the CDC said.

For instance, CDC data show that an extra 63,001 people have died since February 2020 of hypertensive diseases and that more than 67,400 people have died due to Alzheimer’s or dementia-related illnesses.

Over 30,000 have died from Ischemic heart disease, whereby heart problems are caused by narrowed heart arteries, and 31,809 have died from cerebrovascular disease, which refers to a group of conditions that affect blood flow and the blood vessels in the brain.

More than 2.8 million people died in the United States in 2019, according to final mortality data (pdf) from the National Center for Health Statistics released in December.

Over 3.3 million people died in 2020, as the virus began to spread across the country, of which 377,883 were COVID-19–related deaths according to official data.

“We’ve never seen anything like it,” Robert Anderson, chief of the CDC’s mortality statistics branch, told The Washington Post.

By Katabella Roberts

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