Will Survivors of the First Year of the COVID-19 Pandemic Have Lower Mortality?

Link: https://crr.bc.edu/working-papers/will-survivors-of-the-first-year-of-the-covid-19-pandemic-have-lower-mortality/

Report: https://crr.bc.edu/wp-content/uploads/2022/08/wp_2022-10.pdf

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Abstract:

The mortality burden of the COVID-19 pandemic was particularly heavy among older adults, racial and ethnic minorities, and those with underlying health conditions.  These groups are known to have higher mortality rates than others even in the absence of COVID.  Using data from the 2019 American Community Survey, the 2018 Health and Retirement Study, and the 2020 National Vital Statistics System, this paper estimates how much lower the overall mortality rate will be for those who lived through the acute phase of the early pandemic after accounting for this selection effect of those who died from COVID.  Such selection may have implications for life insurance and annuity premiums, as well as assessments of the financial standing of Social Security – if the selection is large enough to substantially alter projected survivor mortality.

The paper found that:

  • 10-year mortality rates, absent direct COVID deaths and long COVID, will likely be lower in 2021 than anticipated in 2019.
  • However, these differences are small, ranging from a decline of 0.4 percentage points for people in their 60s to 1 percentage point for those in their 90s.
  • The small difference is in spite of the fact that COVID mortality was, indeed, very selective, with mortality declines exceeding half the maximum possible declines, holding total COVID deaths constant, for every age group.

 
The policy implications of the findings are:

  • That declines in mortality due to COVID selection likely will not impact overall population mortality substantially enough to affect Social Security cost projections.
  • Any impact of selection effects on Social Security costs will likely be swamped by ongoing mortality increases directly attributable to acute and long COVID.

Author(s): Gal Wettstein, Nilufer Gok, Anqi Chen, Alicia H. Munnell

Publication Date: August 2022

Publication Site: Center for Retirement Research at Boston College

2020-2021 Excess Deaths in the U.S. General Population by Age and Sex

Link: https://www.soa.org/resources/research-reports/2022/excess-death-us/

Full report: https://www.soa.org/4a55a7/globalassets/assets/files/resources/research-report/2022/excess-death-us.pdf

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Excerpt:

The data used for this analysis was provided by the CDC as of August 17, 2022 and includes incurred deaths
by week, beginning on December 29, 2019 and going through July 2, 2022. For 2020, the CDC defines Week
1 as ranging from December 29, 2019 through January 4, 2020 and Week 52 as ranging from December 19,
2020 through December 26, 2020, so when reporting on 2020 results, this convention is used. The year
2021 begins on December 27, 2020 and runs through January 2, 2022. For the purposes of this analysis, the
start of the COVID-19 active period is March 22, 2020.
Due to the delay in reporting, the actual deaths have been completed based on factors that vary by age
and sex. These are shown below along with the expectations that are based on the five-year trend after
adjusting for seasonality.

These data are as of August 17, 2022 and exclude deaths that occurred after July 2, 2022. Figure 1 shows
that, for most months, the total A/E ratio is much greater than 100%, while the A/E ratio excluding COVID19 deaths is also greater than 100% by a few percent.

Author(s): Rick Leavitt, ASA, MAAA

Publication Date: August 2022

Publication Site: Society of Actuaries Research Institute

5 Worst States for Working-Age Death Increases in July

Link: https://www.thinkadvisor.com/2022/09/12/5-worst-states-for-working-age-death-increases-in-july/

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Excerpt:

Early government mortality numbers show that the number of U.S. deaths has stayed very high this summer, both for members of the general population and for working-age people.

For all U.S. residents, for the period from July 3 through Aug. 27, the number of deaths recorded in the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s FluView reports was 426,881, according to the report released Friday, which included data sent to the CDC by Sept. 3.

The “all cause” total for the general population was down just 0.8% from the total for the comparable period in 2021, and it was 22% higher than the total for the comparable period in 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic began.

For U.S. residents ages 25 through 64, the all-cause death total during that same period was 113,665, according to early, weighted data in the CDC’s Weekly Counts of Deaths by Jurisdiction and Age reports, as of Sept. 8.

Author(s): Allison Bell

Publication Date: 12 Sept 2022

Publication Site: Think Advisor

Two Key Takeaways From The New CDC Life Expectancy Data

Link: https://www.forbes.com/sites/ebauer/2022/09/02/two-key-takeaways-from-the-new-cdc-life-expectancy-data/?sh=6ce149f31cfc

Excerpt:

To what extent, are these drops of life expectancy due to Covid-19, rather than other causes?

From 2019 to 2020, the CDC reports that 90% of the drop in Hispanic life expectancy was attributable to Covid; the corresponding rates were 68% for whites and 59% for blacks. (No breakdown was provided for the AIAN or Asian categories.) However, the CDC data splits its breakdowns into “contributions to decreases” and “contributions to increases” rather than overall net effect. Those readers who are used to looking at data and charts will expect a “waterfall” style chart; the CDC version is not this, and is not particularly helpful.

In any event, relative to the 2020 baseline, the further decreases in life expectancy during 2021 had multiple causes. Only among the White demographic group was Covid the cause of over half of the decline; unintentional injury (including overdoses) was the second-largest contributing factor and for the AIAN demographic group, worsening rates of death due to chronic liver disease and cirrhosis played almost as substantial a role.

And, finally, it is important to understand that the CDC data shows a continued improvement in life expectancy due to reductions in death due to such causes as influenza/pneumonia, COPD/emphysema, Alzheimer disease, diabetes, and perinatal conditions (infant deaths). In fact, strikingly, in 2021, heart disease was a contributor to increased life expectancy in the Black, Hispanic, and Asian demographic groups, but a contributor to decreased life expectancy for the White and AIAN groups.

Again, though, the way the CDC provides its information means that, when it comes down to it, there is much that is simply missing; we do not know the magnitude of the improvements in life expectancy due to these causes, just that it exists. It even seems likely, or at least possible, that some of the apparent improvement in mortality due to these factors was actually because deaths were actually recorded as Covid deaths instead (whether due to multiple causes of death or other reasons).

Author(s): Elizabeth Bauer

Publication Date: 2 Sept 2022

Publication Site: Forbes

COVID-19 and the Short-Term Impact on Future U.S. Mortality

Link: https://www.soa.org/resources/research-reports/2022/covid-19-short-term-impact-us-mort/

PDF of report: https://www.soa.org/4a28d8/globalassets/assets/files/resources/research-report/2022/covid-19-short-term-impact-us-mort-report.pdf

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Excerpt:

Excess mortality is expected to occur for all years studied with amounts varying by year and age.
Although the largest mortality excess numbers for the U.S. general population are foreseen for
2022, excess mortality is expected to decline each year so that by 2030, excess mortality numbers
are nearing expected levels. For 2030, mortality is projected to be 2% higher than expected for all
ages except age 85. At this age, 2030 projected mortality is estimated to be 1% higher than
expected.

Based on the average of the participants, generally, the amount of mortality excess is anticipated to be highest at the younger ages. For example, for 2022, projected mortality is anticipated to be 14% higher
compared to expected levels for age 25, 13% higher for age 45, and 10% higher for ages 65 and 85.

Author(s): Ronora Stryker, ASA, MAAA

Publication Date: August 2022

Publication Site: Society of Actuaries

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:

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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

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

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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/

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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

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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

2021 Milliman Variable Annuity Mortality Study

Link: https://www.milliman.com/en/insight/2021-Milliman-Variable-Annuity-Mortality-Study

Excerpt:

Milliman Variable Annuity Mortality Study shows mortality increases of 11% as a result of COVID-19 pandemic

Life insurers and annuity writers are now beginning to understand the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on their lines of business, as mortality data for the year 2020 is reported and analyzed. While the pandemic has affected different carriers in different ways, future mortality rates are a key assumption for annuity writers.

With Milliman’s acquisition of Ruark Consulting in December 2021, the industry’s leading variable annuity mortality study has been rebranded as the Milliman Variable Annuity Mortality Study. The study is based on data from 2008 through 2020, totaling $674 billion in account value as of the end of the study period, with over 1 million deaths across 19 companies.

Author(s): Timothy Paris

Publication Date: 14 Mar 2022

Publication Site: Milliman