CDC: More than three quarters of American COVID-19 deaths have been among seniors

According to statistics released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, at least three-quarters of the almost 800,000 people who have died from COVID-19 have been over the age of 65.

In New York state specifically, many of those deaths occurred in nursing homes, especially at the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020. 

Still, nursing home data does not depict the whole story, nor does the age of an individual, but the latter does play a role according to medical experts.

“We know this is the case of many infectious diseases, so we shouldn’t be overly surprised with COVID,” said Dr. Michael Phillips, chief epidemiologist at NYU Langone Health about elder susceptibility. “We need to continue to unpack that data. Is it the comorbidities driving that mortality, not just age alone?”

Cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and obesity are all characteristics that are included in the category of comorbidities. Those aged 65 and older are more likely to have underlying conditions that make them more susceptible to contracting the virus, noted Dr. Phillips.

He added that in combination with a respiratory illness, something to which older people traditionally are more prone, it increases the burden on them.

“You can say, ‘They would have died anyway’ about any death, because we’re not immortal,” said Andrew Noymer, an associate professor of public health at the University of California, Irvine.

“The point is you’re multiplying years of life lost by hundreds of thousands of deaths. CDC figures have estimated that 18 percent more elderly people died in the year 2020 overall than would have died in a year without a pandemic.




Leave a Reply