What’s Driving Excess Deaths for 25 to 44 Year Olds?

[Note: Original post processing errors which over-counted CDC data due to missing field code filters have been corrected.]

Excess Death Trends by Age

Weekly USA death counts by age from the CDC as shown in figure 1 show some interesting trends: CDC COVID-19 Excess Death Dashboard. For age groups under 25, an excess death trend is not seen. The death rate profile for 25-44 year old age range shows a significant flat bump that does not correlate with overall COVID-19 death trends.  For age groups over 45, the excess deaths clearly match the COVID-19 death curves.

Figure 1: Weekly Counts of Deaths by Age Group (2020 vs 5 Years Prior)

For reference, in figure 2 we present the overall trend of reported and fit of actual COVID-19 related death dates for the USA utilizing our methodology described here: Reported versus Actual Date of Death. You can see the date of death curve matches the excess death trends for 45+ age brackets from figure 1.

Figure 2: Fit of Actual COVID-19 Date of Death for USA

The CDC reports 8,106 COVID-19 deaths as of 8/16/2020 for the 25-44 year age range as shown if figure 3 [CDC Data Visualization for Total Deaths by Age Group].

Figure 3: COVID-19 Total Death Count by AGE (USA, 8/16/20)

Yearly deaths per week are shown for 2020 and the previous 5 years are shown in Figure 4.  Note that excess deaths in this age bracket were higher than average for early 2020.

Figure 4: Deaths per Week 25-44 Years

 

Cumulative excess deaths in the 24-44 year bracket total close to 18,000 for the period from week 12 to through late July (week 30).  If COVID-19 is responsible for ~8,000 of these deaths, something else is responsible for the other ~10,000 deaths through July.

Figure 5: 2020 Excess Deaths per Week 25-44 Years Compared to Prior 5 Year Averages

Excess Deaths from Preexisting Comorbidity Conditions Trend with Death Curves

Examining the causes of excess death posted by the CDC in figures 6 through 11, for various medical conditions, we see a clear correlation for excess deaths for COVID-19 comorbidity conditions and the overall COVID-19 death curve for the USA.   Where there is no correlation we so little evidence of excess death when comparing to prior years.  It appears that the excess death rate for the 25-44 age bracket is driven by factors other than preexisting medical conditions.

Figure 6 Weekly Death Counts due to Select Causes of Death
Figure 7: Weekly Counts of Respiratory Disease Deaths
Figure 8: Weekly Counts of Circulatory Disease Deaths
Figure 9: Weekly Counts of Malignant Neaoplasm Deaths
Figure 10:Weekly Counts of Alzheimer and Dementia Deaths
Figure 11: Weekly Counts of Other Select Causes Deaths

Conclusion

It appears that the excess death count during the COVID-19 outbreak in the 25-44 age bracket cannot be wholly attributed to the virus.  Less than half can be accounted for by current COVID-19 numbers from the CDC (which may be lagging).  It is unlikely that deaths in this age bracket are related to other common COVID-19 comorbidity conditions.  It is likely that these are deaths related to suicide, despair, alcohol and drug abuse, and violence; collateral effects of various public policy mitigation measures.  One can reasonably conclude that the lock-downs and stay at home orders may have had significant negative effects.  This is a cursory analysis and will be refined as data becomes more complete.

10 thoughts on “What’s Driving Excess Deaths for 25 to 44 Year Olds?”

  1. D L Mason

August 18, 2020 at 6:29 am

Job loss especially in entry level and lower-skilled occupations may be a significant factor here, when younger people are susceptible to loss of hope and have not developed coping skills other than drugs and alcohol.

 

  1. Joseph

August 18, 2020 at 4:06 pm

They die because of the Covid measurements that are taken. People get depressed, ill and heart attacks are not treated.
We have to chose now……. will we be free and happy with the risk of flu once in a while or will we be imprisoned, monitored and poisened with vaccines?
Who is school dropout Bill Gates anyway to steal our lives ? He’s not even a doctor, he has only proven to be a mean monopoly specialist who sold stolen systems. Stop this man , he is selling fear to get you all under total controll.
Next thing he’ll do is use the CO2 hype to close of 80% of the world for ordinairy people.

 

  1. Ken Kelly

August 19, 2020 at 9:40 am

There is a genuine effect here. It’s a shame you felt the need to exaggerate that effect by using the 2014-19 average as your baseline. With a more realistic baseline, about 55%-60% of the effect can be accounted for by deaths certified as caused by covid19. I guess you wanted to avoid the rhetorical clunkiness of “almost half the effect is unaccounted for by covid19” vs “less than half the effect is accounted for covid19”.

 

    1. Bill Goyette

August 19, 2020 at 11:03 am

The analysis is speculative and meant to point out a discrepancy in the shape of the excess curves for 25-44 year age groups and that current COVID-19 deaths from CDC don’t account for the excess. The baseline is a subjective choice, but we could use the prior year. Saying “approximately half of deaths can be accounted for by COVID-19” would be a fair characterization, but all this will change as we get more data. It is not clear what is missing from the various causes of death (like a reduction in deaths for work site or traffic accidents) or what the actual COVID-19 numbers will be once the dust settles. There will be increases and reductions. It would be best if we had a current and accurate data set of various death causes by age.

 

  1. Mitch

August 19, 2020 at 11:03 am

Is there a way to calculate what the excess deaths would have been if there was no lockdown at all? Lockdown deaths are a terrible price to pay for what this virus is. I have always wondered what the outcomes would have been if everything stayed open and we just went the mask only route. Would the excess deaths have been a lot higher?

 

    1. Bill Goyette

August 19, 2020 at 11:19 am

Our analysis shows that with NO lockdown or protection of the vulnerable or elderly death rates get very high. It depends on the demographic (age distributions, comorbidity rates, connectivity and susceptibility variation). So for highly connected, elderly populations with many comorbidity conditions, infection fatality rates (IFR) will be high and herd immunity thresholds (HIT) will higher: death rates with no lockdown would likely be in the range of a thousand or 2 per million. With a younger demographic, resistant and dispersed population with fewer commodity conditions, the IFR will be much lower and HIT will be much lower: death rates with no lockdown would in range of several hundred deaths per million. It all depends on the demographic. This is worth an article to explain in depth. As far as a softer lockdown with protection for the vulnerable and elderly and some common sense mitigation techniques, the resultant death numbers probably end up being very close to what we see now if we switched immediately into that mode. Sweden is a good example of an effective soft lockdown.

 

  1. Ari Stot

August 20, 2020 at 2:28 am

Wouldn’t the lagging CDC Covid matching (30K+) cut down this number substantially? I’m not doubting the effect of lockdowns but can’t we compare suicide and homicide rates more directly?

 

    1. Bill Goyette

August 20, 2020 at 6:59 am

There is an overall lag that applies to all reported deaths and CDC does do some weighting to account for this, but there are caveats they describe relative to the completeness and accuracy of their data. Up to date and complete 2020 data sets for death rates due to other factors like suicide, drug and alcohol abuse, and violence are not readily available. It may be a while be for we can definitively quantify collateral effects of COVID-19.

 

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One thought on “What’s Driving Excess Deaths for 25 to 44 Year Olds?

  1. If some of the excess death in this age group is due to suicide, it can not be assumed that the suicide was due to depression due to lockdowns. Many people in this age group have lost parents prematurely or grandparents prematurely. They are may reasons why this period could cause more suicides – those unexpected deaths, or depression caused by the lack of caring that many Americans exhibited by not following basic guidelines or the unequal impact this disease has on people of color, Black Americans, Filipino and other Hispanic Americans. I hope you won’t jump to conclusions but will consider that suicide has many causes not just “lockdown”. Thank you.

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