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LM Rossen, AM Branum, FB Ahmad, P Sutton and RN Anderson
As of October 15, 216,025 deaths from coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) have been reported in the United States*; however, this number might underestimate the total impact of the pandemic on mortality. Measures of excess deaths have been used to estimate the impact of public health pandemics or disasters, particularly when there are questions about underascertainment of deaths directly attributable to a given event or cause (1-6).† Excess deaths are defined as the number of persons who have died from all causes, in excess of the expected number of deaths for a given place and time. This report describes trends and demographic patterns in excess deaths during January 26-October 3, 2020. Expected numbers of deaths were estimated using overdispersed Poisson regression models with spline terms to account for seasonal patterns, using provisional mortality data from CDC’s National Vital Statistics System (NVSS) (7). Weekly numbers of deaths by age group and race/ethnicity were assessed to examine the difference between the weekly number of deaths occurring in 2020 and the average number occurring in the same week during 2015-2019 and the percentage change in 2020. Overall, an estimated 299,028 excess deaths have occurred in the United States from late January through October 3, 2020, with two thirds of these attributed to COVID-19. The largest percentage increases were seen among adults aged 25-44 years and among Hispanic or Latino (Hispanic) persons. These results provide information about the degree to which COVID-19 deaths might be underascertained and inform efforts to prevent mortality directly or indirectly associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, such as efforts to minimize disruptions to health care.
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* Data courtesy of