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How mortality rates in every state have changed during COVID-19

  • How mortality rates in every state have changed during COVID-19

    As local, state, and national officials continue to grapple with coherent mitigation efforts against the spread of COVID-19, the virus continues to spread. As it does, average mortality rates year-over-year are changing in each state.

    To examine how mortality rates across the country have changed during the COVID-19 pandemic, Stacker consulted provisional death counts reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) National Vital Statistics System. The CDC reports deaths from all causes during the COVID-19 pandemic and all deaths involving confirmed or presumed COVID-19 cases. Counts in this story are up to date as of Aug. 12 but do not account for the fact that many health experts agree these numbers are almost certainly underreported.

    In its data work, the CDC compares the death rate in a region during the COVID-19 pandemic (February to August 2020) to the average death rate in that region over the same period of months during the three previous years (2017 to 2019). This comparison is expressed through a value called “excess deaths”: the deaths which occurred from Feb. 1 to Aug. 1, 2020, which are beyond the death toll expected during this time.

    This excess deaths metric may be used to estimate the true toll of the pandemic, as many deaths indirectly linked to COVID-19 may not be included in the official count, such as deaths among those who may have contracted COVID-19, but remained undiagnosed, and deaths linked to the disease’s strain on our country’s health care system and economy. The CDC’s database page additionally notes that provisional death counts are not final, and may change as more death records are received and processed; in addition, each state has its own reporting system, and some only update weekly or monthly. The values included in this story are rounded to the nearest 100 to reflect that these are provisional counts.

    Keep reading to see how COVID-19 has affected mortality rates around the U.S.

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  • Alabama

    - Deaths from all causes Feb. 1 to Aug. 1, 2020: 30,500 (628 per 100,000 people)
    - Expected deaths for this time period: 27,800 (572 per 100k people)
    - Excess deaths in 2020: 2,700 (10.0% over expected deaths, #22 highest among all states)
    - Deaths with confirmed or presumed COVID-19: 2,000 (40 per 100k, #17 highest among all states)

    High-risk populations like the elderly are especially vulnerable to COVID-19; in Birmingham, Alabama’s largest city, 22% of the population is older than 65. Alabama currently does not have a statewide mask mandate.

  • Alaska

    - Deaths from all causes Feb. 1 to Aug. 1, 2020: 2,200 (303 per 100,000 people)
    - Expected deaths for this time period: 2,300 (314 per 100k people)
    - Excess deaths in 2020: No excess deaths
    - Deaths with confirmed or presumed COVID-19: 20 (3 per 100k, #51 highest among all states)

    Positivity rates of coronavirus cases in Alaska, a state of fewer than 800,000 people, have steadily climbed in recent months. As of Aug. 12, the state had seen just 24 deaths from COVID-19.

  • Arizona

    - Deaths from all causes Feb. 1 to Aug. 1, 2020: 39,500 (569 per 100,000 people)
    - Expected deaths for this time period: 33,000 (475 per 100k people)
    - Excess deaths in 2020: 6,500 (20.0% over expected deaths, #7 highest among all states)
    - Deaths with confirmed or presumed COVID-19: 3,900 (56 per 100k, #14 highest among all states)

    With no statewide mask mandate and a rushed reopening that sent COVID-19 cases skyrocketing, Arizona has suffered the fallout of 188,737 cases and 4,199 deaths as of Aug. 11. A full 8% of tests administered the first week of August came back positive. The World Health Organization in May recommended that percent positive rates stay below 5% for two full weeks before governments could safely reopen.

  • Arkansas

    - Deaths from all causes Feb. 1 to Aug. 1, 2020: 17,600 (590 per 100,000 people)
    - Expected deaths for this time period: 16,700 (558 per 100k people)
    - Excess deaths in 2020: 1,000 (6.0% over expected deaths, #31 highest among all states)
    - Deaths with confirmed or presumed COVID-19: 600 (19 per 100k, #34 highest among all states)

    The Arkansas Department of Health confirmed that more than 175 Arkansans died in July from COVID-19, up from 137 deaths in June. Johnny Key, Arkansas’ education secretary, announced in August that the state would begin releasing case counts by school district ahead of schools reopening at the end of the month.

  • California

    - Deaths from all causes Feb. 1 to Aug. 1, 2020: 154,800 (395 per 100,000 people)
    - Expected deaths for this time period: 141,200 (361 per 100k people)
    - Excess deaths in 2020: 13,700 (10.0% over expected deaths, #22 highest among all states)
    - Deaths with confirmed or presumed COVID-19: 9,700 (25 per 100k, #30 highest among all states)

    An analysis by the Los Angeles Times found that weekly COVID-19 deaths have doubled since spring in what has amounted to a second surge of coronavirus in California. Cases and deaths in this wave hit suburban and rural areas particularly hard—two areas largely spared by the first wave of the virus.

  • Colorado

    - Deaths from all causes Feb. 1 to Aug. 1, 2020: 23,700 (428 per 100,000 people)
    - Expected deaths for this time period: 20,900 (379 per 100k people)
    - Excess deaths in 2020: 2,700 (13.0% over expected deaths, #18 highest among all states)
    - Deaths with confirmed or presumed COVID-19: 1,800 (32 per 100k, #22 highest among all states)

    Deaths in Colorado jumped by 22% between March and May of 2020, largely due to COVID-19, according to data analysis from the Denver Post. Death certificates issued in the state show what the Post described as COVID-19’s “indirect toll on human life,” with higher rates of death between March and May from Alzheimer’s disease, chronic liver disease, drug overdoses, and heart disease.

  • Connecticut

    - Deaths from all causes Feb. 1 to Aug. 1, 2020: 19,900 (557 per 100,000 people)
    - Expected deaths for this time period: 16,600 (463 per 100k people)
    - Excess deaths in 2020: 3,400 (20.0% over expected deaths, #7 highest among all states)
    - Deaths with confirmed or presumed COVID-19: 4,800 (135 per 100k, #3 highest among all states)

    Positivity rates in Connecticut remained low in mid-August, with tests reported Aug. 12 showing just a less than .3%. The death toll on that day from COVID-19 throughout the state stood at 4,450.

  • Delaware

    - Deaths from all causes Feb. 1 to Aug. 1, 2020: 5,800 (609 per 100,000 people)
    - Expected deaths for this time period: 4,900 (511 per 100k people)
    - Excess deaths in 2020: 900 (19.0% over expected deaths, #11 highest among all states)
    - Deaths with confirmed or presumed COVID-19: 600 (60 per 100k, #12 highest among all states)

    As of Aug. 13 Delaware had no set date for transitioning into Phase 3 of reopening. Case counts have been on the decline in the state with government officials continuing to show caution in order to prevent a spike.

  • Florida

    - Deaths from all causes Feb. 1 to Aug. 1, 2020: 121,900 (592 per 100,000 people)
    - Expected deaths for this time period: 111,200 (540 per 100k people)
    - Excess deaths in 2020: 10,700 (10.0% over expected deaths, #22 highest among all states)
    - Deaths with confirmed or presumed COVID-19: 7,200 (35 per 100k, #19 highest among all states)

    Florida’s health department on Aug. 11 reported 276 deaths from COVID-19, setting a new daily death toll record that surpassed the state’s July 31st recording of 257 deaths. At the time, Florida had the second-highest number of coronavirus cases nationwide among states, with 542,790.

    Two Florida teenagers in August died from the virus, bringing the number of minors there who have died from COVID-19 to seven as of Aug. 10.

  • Georgia

    - Deaths from all causes Feb. 1 to Aug. 1, 2020: 50,000 (485 per 100,000 people)
    - Expected deaths for this time period: 45,000 (437 per 100k people)
    - Excess deaths in 2020: 5,000 (11.0% over expected deaths, #19 highest among all states)
    - Deaths with confirmed or presumed COVID-19: 3,500 (34 per 100k, #20 highest among all states)

    Georgia on Aug. 11 and 12 reported 122 and 105 deaths from COVID-19, respectively, with the death toll on the 11th setting a new daily record for the state. A 7-year-old boy in Georgia without underlying conditions died in the first week of August from COVID-19, representing the state’s youngest coronavirus victim.