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CDC Report on Characteristics of Coronavirus Deaths

By July 14, 2020Commentary

The Centers for Disease Control has some of the best and most useful data on coronavirus, especially in regard to deaths.  Unfortunately, because they are dependent on states to provide them with much of the underlying information, there can be reporting and processing lags that are significant.  Every now and then CDC releases a summary report on issues like the epidemic.  Recently one was published on deaths from coronavirus through May 18th.   (CDC Report)   There were 52,166 of these deaths included in the report.  55.4% were male, 79.6% were 65 or over, 40% were Caucasian, 21% were African-American, 13.8% Hispanic and 4% Asian.  Median age of death was 78; that means that half the deaths were older than this.  For 10,647 decedents more detailed supplementary information was sought by the CDC and provided by states.  93% of these, however, were clustered in New York, New Jersey and Washington state.  Among the deaths with supplemental information, 76.4% had at least one underlying medical condition.  83% of those who were under 65 and died had such a condition, and those over 85 had a lower rate, 69.5%.  If you live that long, you must be pretty healthy.  The most common pre-existing conditions were heart disease and diabetes.  Among this sub-group with supplemental data, 84% were hospitalized and the median time between illness onset and death was 10 days, and 5 days from hospitalization to death.  62% of decedents died in the hospital, for those for whom place of death was known, 5.3% died in a long-term care facility and 5.2% in an ER.    As with all analyses of deaths from coronavirus, this one shows how disproportionately the elderly and those in poor health are affected with serious illness.

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