Following the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, the number of deaths that occurred in the United States jumped by 19% between 2019 and 2020. This marked the highest surge in mortality in the previous 100 years. According to population estimates released by the United States Census Bureau on July 1, 2021, the number of deaths continued to be at an elevated level in 2021 despite the persistent threat posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Today, estimates for individual counties were made available, and figures for the nation will be made available in December. Prior to the pandemic, patterns of mortality were quite easy to forecast. The number of fatalities had been gradually but steadily climbing. Furthermore, mortality followed a regular pattern, with its highest point occurring during the winter months. These patterns have been thrown off by COVID-19 over the course of the previous two years, and it is currently unknown when or if they will return to their pre-pandemic regularities.
Estimates of deaths at the national level that are included in the annual time series compiled by the Census Bureau are derived from final data provided by the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) as well as tentative totals wherever possible. The most recent year for which complete data could be obtained from the NCHS was 2019, and these estimates belong to the series known as Vintage 2021. We relied on preliminary data from the NCHS in order to get an accurate picture of recent death patterns, including those caused by the epidemic.
In order to arrive at our projections, we utilized preliminary death counts for each month of 2020. We used tentative NCHS figures in this article because we wanted to demonstrate patterns for the entire year of 2021. These values were not available at the time that the Vintage 2021 population estimates for April 1, 2020 to July 1, 2021 were compiled; however, they are now.
These data have not been verified and are therefore subject to change. The patterns that are presented here, more specifically for the last few months of 2021, might be slightly different from those that are included in our next vintage of predictions (Vintage 2022), which will be updated with final data.
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