Non-COVID deaths are up a significant amount this year. What’s driving the increase?

Link: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-08-08/non-covid-deaths-are-up-a-significant-amount-this-year/101309930

Excerpt:

There were an additional 4,000 non-COVID deaths, or a five per cent increase, in the first four months this year, compared with the pre-pandemic average.

The director of the Mortality Data Centre at the Australian Bureau of Statistics, Lauren Moran, said among the additional 4,000 deaths, more people died of chronic diseases compared to similar periods prior to the pandemic.

“We can see that for dementia, there’s been around a 20 per cent increase this year of the total number of deaths when we compare it to prior years, and around 18 per cent higher than expected for diabetes,” she said.

Ms Moran said that while some of the increase could be put down to natural variation and increases with an ageing population, the deaths are statistically significant and confirm a trend that began late last year.

Author(s): Annie Guest

Publication Date: 8 Aug 2022

Publication Site: Australian Broadcasting Commission News

Excess mortality in England

Link: https://app.powerbi.com/view?r=eyJrIjoiYmUwNmFhMjYtNGZhYS00NDk2LWFlMTAtOTg0OGNhNmFiNGM0IiwidCI6ImVlNGUxNDk5LTRhMzUtNGIyZS1hZDQ3LTVmM2NmOWRlODY2NiIsImMiOjh9

Data download:

Graphic:

Excerpt:

The numbers of expected deaths are estimated using statistical models and based on previous 5 years’ (2015 to 2019) mortality rates. Weekly monitoring of excess mortality from all causes throughout the COVID-19 pandemic provides an objective and comparable measure of the scale of the pandemic [reference 1]. Measuring excess mortality from all causes, instead of focusing solely on mortality from COVID-19, overcomes the issues of variation in testing and differential coding of cause of death between individuals and over time [reference 1].


In the weekly reports, estimates of excess deaths are presented by week of registration at national and subnational level, for subgroups of the population (age groups, sex, deprivation groups, ethnic groups) and by cause of death and place of death.

Author(s): Office for Health Improvement and Disparities

Publication Date: accessed 10 Aug 2022

Publication Site: Public PowerBI dashboard

Book Review: A Global History of the Black Death

Link: https://undark.org/2022/07/29/book-review-a-global-history-of-the-black-death/

Excerpt:

James Belich’s new book, “The World the Plague Made: The Black Death and the Rise of Europe,” shows the depth and longevity of the controversy over the sources and impacts of an era-defining scourge. Belich, an Oxford University historian, suggests that what is now known as the Black Death was so consequential that its effects equal those of the Enlightenment, the Reformation, the Industrial Revolution, and the Renaissance. It’s a staggering implication, but he makes a decent case for it in this bold, tremendously researched work. From illustrating the plague’s effects globally to showing how central it was to Europe’s ascension, Belich demonstrates that the medieval pandemic influenced many aspects of human life.

Once called the Great Death or the Great Plague, the pandemic lasted hundreds of years and was so deadly that it is still popularly referred to simply as the Plague. “The Black Death Pandemic, beginning in 1345, persisted for more than three centuries and involved about 30 major epidemics in all,” writes Belich. What’s more, it “did not always behave like the modern pandemic,” he writes further on. “It killed far more people, for one thing.” Belich’s book implicitly underscores that, compared to the devastation of the plague, Covid-19 is relatively insignificant.

Just how many deaths was the Black Death responsible for? Despite centuries of debate on the subject, there is no consensus. The common belief is that the first wave killed between 25 percent and 33 percent of Western Europeans. (The historian Barbara Tuchman advanced the one-third estimate in her best-selling 1978 book about the 14th century, “A Distant Mirror.”) Belich suggests that the number was far higher. In the first strike alone, the population of Western Europe was cut in half, he writes, citing studies about the death rates in England, France, Italy, and Scandinavia. Many places didn’t return to their pre-plague population levels for some 250 years. (Despite his claims, the true extent of the toll is still widely contested.)

….

In Belich’s view, what made the plague different from other major historical events and catastrophes was that, while it decimated the human population, it left the material world untouched. It “doubled the average amount per person of everything,” from horses to housing, he writes. For a time, this meant more resources for survivors and greater access to luxury goods, better living conditions, and higher wages for workers.

Author(s): Jordan Michael Smith

Publication Date: 29 July 2022

Publication Site: unDark

CMI mortality monitor – week 28 of 2022

Link: https://www.actuaries.org.uk/system/files/field/document/Mortality%20summary%20pandemic%20monitor%20Week%2028%202022%20v01%202022-07-26.pdf

Graphic:

Excerpt:

Data sources
The provisional weekly deaths are available from:
• ONS (England & Wales)
https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/deaths/datasets/wee
klyprovisionalfiguresondeathsregisteredinenglandandwales
• NRS (Scotland)
https://www.nrscotland.gov.uk/covid19stats
• NISRA (Northern Ireland)
https://www.nisra.gov.uk/statistics/death-statistics/weekly-death-registrations-northern-ireland

Author(s): Continuous Mortality Investigation

Publication Date: July 2022

Publication Site: Actuaries UK

Covid-19 Impact on the South African Life Insurance Industry: What Can we Learn?

Link: https://www.soa.org/sections/international/international-newsletter/2022/july/isn-2022-07-hoberg/

Graphic:

Excerpt:

The impact of Covid-19 in South Africa in terms of excess deaths was substantial, when considering the reported excess deaths as published by the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC).[4] Please note that in this article we will not further consider whether all excess deaths can be directly attributed to Covid-19, however, as per the article “Correlation of Excess Natural Deaths with Other Measures of the Covid-19 Pandemic in South Africa,”[5] it is estimated that 85 percent to 95 percent of excess natural deaths are attributable to Covid-19.

Based on the SAMRC excess deaths, taking the expected plus excess deaths as Actual and expected natural deaths as per their methodology as Expected, we observe an Actual versus Expected (AvE) ratio of 116 percent in 2020, a ratio of 131 percent in 2021, and a ratio of 113 percent in 2022 up to May 1. When we look at the AvE for each wave, we can see that the 2nd wave (predominantly Beta variant) and the 3rd wave (predominantly Delta variant), had the most severe impact on the general population (see figure 2 and figure 3)

Author(s): Idelia Hoberg

Publication Date: July 2022

Publication Site: SOA International News

Missing Americans: Early Death in the United States, 1933-2021

Link: https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2022.06.29.22277065v1.full

Graphic:

Age-specific mortality trends in the U.S. and other wealthy nations.Source: Human Mortality Database. Note: Figure shows deaths per 100K population, (A) 1933-2021 and (B) 2000-2021. Dark red line is U.S.; pink line is population-weighted average of other wealthy nations; grey lines are country-specific trends for other countries.

Excerpt:

We assessed how many U.S. deaths would have been averted each year, 1933-2021, if U.S. age-specific mortality rates had equaled those of other wealthy nations. The annual number of excess deaths in the U.S. increased steadily beginning in the late 1970s, reaching 626,353 in 2019. Excess deaths surged during the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2021, there were 1,092,293 “Missing Americans” and 25 million years of life lost due to excess mortality relative to peer nations. In 2021, half of all deaths under 65 years and 91% of the increase in under-65 mortality since 2019 would have been avoided if the U.S. had the mortality rates of its peers. Black and Native Americans made up a disproportionate share of Missing Americans, although the majority were White.

One sentence summary In 2021, 1.1 million U.S. deaths – including 1 in 2 deaths under age 65 years – would have been averted if the U.S. had the mortality rates of other wealthy nations.

Author(s):

Jacob Bor, View ORCID ProfileAndrew C. Stokes, Julia Raifman, Atheendar Venkataramani, Mary T. Bassett, David Himmelstein, Steffie Woolhandler


doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/2022.06.29.22277065

Publication Date: 30 Jun 2022

Publication Site: MedRXiV

Millennial Massacre Part 2: Increase In Mortality for Ages 18-39 for 2020-2021 Mainly Driven by Drug Overdoses and COVID

Link: https://marypatcampbell.substack.com/p/millennial-massacre-part-2-increase

Graphic:

Excerpt:

  • About 30% of the contribution to excess mortality for young adults in 2021 came from drug overdoses.
  • The percentage contribution to excess mortality of drug ODs was not that different by age group over the 18-39 age span.
  • COVID as a contribution to excess mortality was higher for older people —- for those age 35-39, 36% of their excess mortality came from COVID in 2021. In contrast, for those age 18-24, only 17% of their excess mortality came from COVID.
  • Indeed, the youngest of the adults (age 18-24) had higher contributions from homicide (20% of excess mortality) and had comparable excess mortality contribution from motor vehicle accidents (16%) in 2021.

Author(s): Mary Pat Campbell

Publication Date: 23 Jul 2022

Publication Site: STUMP at substack

NHTSA Launches New Campaign to Remind Drivers Speeding Wrecks Lives

Link: https://www.nhtsa.gov/press-releases/nhtsa-launches-new-campaign-remind-drivers-speeding-wrecks-lives

Ad:

Excerpt:

As part of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s comprehensive safety strategy to prevent traffic deaths, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is launching a public education campaign across the country to address one of America’s most dangerous driving behaviors. Tomorrow, the agency kicks off the Speeding Wrecks Lives campaign aimed at changing general attitudes toward speeding and reminding drivers of the deadly consequences.

The campaign, which will run July 20-August 14, is supported by an $8 million national media buy featuring English and Spanish-language ads running on television, radio and digital platforms. The ads target drivers ages 18 to 44, who data show are most likely to be involved in speeding-related fatal crashes.

….

According to NHTSA data, 11,258 people died in speeding-related crashes in 2020, and speeding was a contributing factor in 29% of all fatal crashes. Even with fewer cars on the road during the pandemic, 2020 saw a dramatic increase (17%) in speeding-related deaths compared to 2019. The data also showed additional concerning statistics in 2020:

Local roads saw the most speeding, with 87% of all speeding-related traffic fatalities occurring on non-interstate roads. 

Speeding contributed to 37% of the fatal crashes in work zones.

Speeding was a factor in more fatal crashes on wet roads than dry roads. 

Drinking and speeding is the deadliest combination. Of the drivers involved in fatal crashes, 37% were speeding and had a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or higher.

Author(s):

Publication Date: 19 Jul 2022

Publication Site: NHTSA

Dangerous by Design 2022

Link: https://smartgrowthamerica.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/07/Dangerous-By-Design-2022-v3.pdf

Graphic:

Excerpt:

While the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic
upended many aspects of daily life, including
how people get around, one terrible, long-term
trend was unchanged: the alarming increase in
people being struck and killed while walking.
The number of people struck and killed while
walking has been steadily increasing since 2009,
reaching another new high in 2020 and likely a
historic one in 2021.

More than 6,500 people— nearly 18 per day—
were struck and killed while walking in 2020, a
4.7 percent increase over 2019, even as driving
decreased overall because of the pandemic’s
unprecedented disruptions to travel behavior.1

Publication Date: July 2022

Publication Site: Smart Growth America

US pedestrian deaths are reaching a new high

Link: https://www.popsci.com/technology/pedestrian-deaths-spike-us/

Excerpt:

When thinking of traffic accidents, it would be an understandable reaction to imagine a car crash: the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that nearly 43,000 people died in 2021 on US roads. That’s a 10.5 percent jump from 2020 and the most fatalities since 2005. But pedestrian deaths are another form of traffic accident—and those rates are rising, fast. 

new study from Smart Growth America, an urban development-focused nonprofit, found that the number of pedestrian fatalities spiked more than 60 percent in the last decade. In 2020 alone, more than 6,500 people were struck and killed by vehicles—a record high that equates to nearly 18 people dying every day. And despite fewer cars on the road during the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of pedestrian deaths might have been even higher in 2021, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association. Preliminary data from GHSA suggests that roughly 7,500 people were killed last year. If confirmed, this would be the highest number in 40 years. 

The study also presents new data identifying the deadliest metro areas and states for pedestrians. That the US experiences more pedestrian deaths than any other high-income nation isn’t random, researchers from Smart Growth America say. It’s by design.

Author(s): MARIA PARAZO ROSE

Publication Date: 16 Jul 2022

Publication Site: Popular Science

Fentanyl Overdose Rates Are Rising Fast

Link: https://www.wsj.com/articles/overdose-rates-are-rising-fast-cdc-drugs-opiod-crisis-substance-abuse-addiction-fatal-syringe-11652904604

Excerpt:

The latest tally of fatal drug overdoses from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows nearly 108,000 fatalities in 2021. This is far more than in 2017, when President Trump declared drug deaths a public-health emergency. Among blacks, the drug mortality rate has quadrupled in less than eight years.

The Trump administration acted aggressively and directed agencies to implement several recommendations from the Commission on Combatting Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis. These included changes to prescribing patterns, treatment paradigms and law-enforcement procedures. The rate of deaths from drug overdoses slowed and then dipped. But then Covid hit, with all its mental-health consequences. The addiction and overdose crisis is now the most important public-health issue facing the country.

…..

Coincident with policy changes advertised as civil-rights progress, the comparatively low drug-overdose rate for blacks began to accelerate. It reached the white rate by 2019 and then surged past it during the pandemic to reach 43 annually per 100,000 of the black population by last September.

Rather than gawking at an accelerating overdose crisis, policy makers could benefit people of all races by investigating new sources of demand and supply. Instead, in a world where a single backpack of fentanyl could kill a million people, Mr. Biden eliminates the controls on illegal immigration instituted by his predecessor.

Author(s): Joseph Grogan and Casey B. Mulligan

Publication Date: 18 May 2022

Publication Site: WSJ

Racial Disparities in Maternal Health

Link: https://www.usccr.gov/files/2021/09-15-Racial-Disparities-in-Maternal-Health.pdf

Graphic:

Excerpt:

Over the past two decades, the U.S. maternal mortality rate has not improved while maternal
mortality rates have decreased for other regions of the world. Furthermore, the rate at which
women in the U.S. experience short-term or long-term negative health consequences due to
unexpected outcomes of pregnancy or childbirth has also steadily increased over the past few
decades, with nearly 50,000 women in the U.S. experiencing these health consequences in 2014.
Significant racial and ethnic disparities persist in both the rate of women in the U.S. who die due
to complications of pregnancy or delivery and the rate that women experience negative health
consequences due to unexpected pregnancy or childbirth outcomes.

…..

Compared to any other racial or ethnic group,7 Black8 women experience the highest rates of
nearly all of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) severe maternal morbidity9
indicators.10 Black women in the U.S. are 3 to 4 times more likely to die from pregnancy-related
complications than White11 women in the U.S., and Native American12 women are more than 2
times more likely to die from pregnancy-related complications than White women in the U.S.13
Pregnancy-related mortality is also slightly elevated for Asian women (a 1.1 disparity ratio),14
and for Hispanic women in some geographic areas.15 Moreover, the risk of pregnancy-related
death is so elevated for Black women in certain regions of the U.S. that it is comparable to the

rate of pregnancy-related deaths16 in some developing countries.17 This racial disparity has not
improved in decades,18 and is also seen in other middle to high-income countries with
multiethnic populations.19 According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the U.S.
maternal mortality ratio ranked 56th in the world in 2017.20 According to the National Center for
Health Statistics (NCHS), in 2018, the maternal mortality rate in the U.S. was 17.4 maternal
deaths per 100,000 live births, with 658 women dying of maternal causes.21 In 2019, the
maternal mortality rate in the U.S. was 20.1 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births, with 754
women dying of maternal causes.

Author(s): U.S. Commission on Civil Rights

Publication Date: September 2021

Publication Site: U.S. Commission on Civil Rights