Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has afflicted people from all walks of life worldwide. High-risk populations are at increased risk of serious illness and death, including the elderly and those with underlying diseases.
The COVID-19 has resulted in a significant increase in all cause deaths in the United States, especially among the elderly over 65. Because younger adults have lower infectious mortality rates, little attention has been paid to the mortality burden from COVID-19 in this age group.
A team of researchers from the Brigham and Women’s Hospital of the Emergency Medicine Department of Harvard Medical School aimed to determine changes in all-cause mortality or excessive deaths in adults between the ages of 25 and 44 in the United States. In addition, they would also like to identify the Years of Lost Life (YLL) in this age group.
The team used data from the National Center for Health Statistics of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to arrive at the study results. The data consists of the latest public data on all-cause mortality between 2019-2020, unintentional deaths from drug overdose, unintentional opioid-specific deaths, and COVID-19 deaths in adults aged 25 to 44 during the COVID-19 pandemic in the country .
The team compared COVID-19-related deaths in the pandemic age group to all overdose deaths and opioid-specific overdose deaths in each of the 10 Health and Social Services (HHS) regions in 2018, the most recent year for which data are available available.
They also calculated for the YLL due to COVID-19 and for all deaths that occurred between March and July. Excess mortality means deaths in 2020 minus deaths in 2019 in the corresponding period.
Accidental overdose deaths, opioid deaths, and COVID-19 deaths in people aged 25 to 44 years per 100,000 person-month (vertical axis) per month (horizontal axis) stratified by HHS region. Bars: Accidental deaths from overdose (ICD10 X41-X45, Y11-Y15), 2018 (light blue with 95% CI) and opioid-specific deaths from overdose (ICD10 X41-X45, Y11-Y15 and T40.0-40.6), 2018 (dark blue with 95% CI). Lines: COVID-19 Deaths (ICD10 U071), 2020; The colors are stratified according to the regional COVID-19 incidence per 1,000,000 population by July 31, 2020 (green) <1,050 cases per 100,000 residents; yellow 1,050-1,499 cases per 100,000 residents; red >1,500 cases per 100,000 population). HHS Regions: Region 1: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont; Region 2: New Jersey and New York; Region 3: Delaware, District of Columbia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia; Region 4: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee; Region 5: Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin; Region 6: Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas; Region 7: Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska; Region 8: Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming; Region 9: Arizona, California, Hawaii, and Nevada; Region 10: Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington.
What the study found
In the study, which was published in the pre-print journal medRxiv *, the team found that more than 74,000 deaths occurred among adults between the ages of 25 and 44 between March and July 2020.
The number is 14,155 higher than in the same period in 2019, an increase of 23 percent. In regions such as New York, New Jersey, Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Texas, California, Arizona, Nevada, and Hawaii, deaths from COVID-19 exceeded accidental deaths from opioid overdose for at least a month in 2018.
A total of 2,450 COVID-19 deaths were recorded in these states during the pandemic, compared to 2,445 opioid deaths in the same period in 2018. From March to July 2018, the US recorded 10,347 deaths related to opioid overdose, increasing to 472,608 YLL resulted in adults between 25 and 44 years of age.
Amid the pandemic, 4,055 COVID-19 deaths were recorded in the same age group, resulting in 175,631 YLL. When the team took into account all 14,155 deaths in 2020, young adults accounted for 627,872 YLL, surpassing the YLL due to deaths from overdose in the same period in 2018.
Based on the results of the study, the team concluded that COVID-19 is likely the leading cause of death among young adults in some areas of the United States during the pandemic. The team also found that in these regions, COVID-19-related mortality is similar to the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) / acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) epidemic at its peak in the country between 1994 and 1995.
US COVID-19 numbers
For months, the US has been the hardest hit country during the coronavirus pandemic. The country has now reported over 8.6 million cases and at least 225,000 deaths. New York reports the highest number of deaths at over 33,000.
In addition to the US, countries with high coronavirus cases include India with more than 7.86 million cases, Brazil with more than 5.38 million cases, Russia with more than 1.5 million cases, and France with more than 1.13 million Cases.
Globally, the number of COVID-19 cases has exceeded 42.92 million, and the infection has now claimed more than 1.15 million deaths. At least 28.89 million of these have already recovered.
* Important NOTE
medRxiv publishes preliminary scientific reports that are not peer-reviewed and, therefore, should not be considered conclusive, guide clinical practice / health-related behavior, or be treated as established information.