US deaths are down in 2022 but still higher than before the pandemic

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By Cara Murez and Robin Foster

Health Day Reporter

THURSDAY, December 15, 2022 (HealthDay News) — More than two years after the pandemic began, there is good news about death rates in the United States: They should be lower this year than they have been for the last two years once they are final Numbers are counted.

Still, they haven’t fallen to the levels seen before COVID swept the country, preliminary data shows.

The number of deaths for 2022 is expected to be about 13% higher than 2019 numbers. However, it is likely to be 7% lower than 2021 and 3% lower than 2020 based on an estimate for the first 11 months of 2022 Associated Press reported.

Although the death rate usually increases annually with population growth, so many people died in the first two years of the pandemic that it accelerated the pace.

If there isn’t a big increase this month, it could be the first annual decline since 2009 AP reported.

“was [still] definitely worse off than before the pandemic,” said Amira Roess, professor of epidemiology and global health at George Mason University AP.

COVID will remain the third leading cause of death in 2022, after heart disease and cancer, even at lower numbers.

The deadliest year in US history was 2021 with 3.4 million deaths AP reported.

Still, the US COVID-19 vaccination program has prevented more than 3.2 million deaths since it began in late 2020, according to a model study released this week by the Commonwealth Fund.

“We would all really expect that the number of deaths — and the number of severe cases — would decrease due to a combination of immunity to natural infections and vaccination … and treatment,” Roess said.

COVID has killed more than 1.1 million Americans who AP reported, including 73,000 deaths in January alone, despite overall falling numbers this year.

That was the third deadliest month since the pandemic began AP reported.

“Most of the mortality was concentrated during that omicron wave earlier in the year,” said Iliya Gutin, a University of Texas researcher tracking COVID mortality AP.

Deaths from heart disease have also risen, although they will also be falling from 2021, said Farida Ahmad, who heads mortality surveillance at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Preliminary data did not show whether the number of cancer deaths would change. However, preliminary drug overdose death rates for the first seven months of 2022 suggest these numbers will stop rising earlier this year.

More information

The World Health Organization has more on global cases of COVID-19.

SOURCE: Associated Press


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US deaths are down in 2022 but still higher than before the pandemic
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