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Causes of Death by Age

By July 31, 2020August 3rd, 2020Commentary

I have seen a couple of polls indicating that most Americans have trouble with statistics and don’t understand the concept of risk or what the likelihood of dying of certain causes, including coronavirus, are.  So here to help is a chart of causes of death by age.  You can see that for young ages, CV doesn’t even make the top ten.  Thanks to Avik Roy, who put this together.  (Update.  The author’s use of 2016 clearly confuses people and I understand why.  I think he did it because the CDC is slow to declare a year complete and I believe the original chart came from a CDC publication analyzing deaths in 2016.  If you took 2019, and ignore coronavirus, you would see the same pattern in leading causes of death, although the numbers would be higher for most, which might make coronavirus rank even lower.  I believe all the author was trying to show, and what I was trying to show, is that if you take any recent year and look at causes of death, for many age groups, coronavirus isn’t even in the top ten.  And remember that coronavirus is pretty certainly over-represented as a cause of death.  If you really want to understand what has happened to causes of death in 2020, you would have to look category by category, which is what I am in the process of doing for Minnesota.  Some might be down, like car and work accidents.  Others may be up, like heart disease and diabetes, and that may be because people are avoiding needed care.  When it comes to respiratory diseases, there may be some substitution of coronavirus for influenza or other respiratory causes.  The main point is that young people should be worried about a lot of other things than coronavirus.)

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