Federal Government Mum on Non-COVID Mortality Spike in Americans Aged 18 to 49

January 18, 2022 Updated: January 18, 2022

Federal authorities have yet to respond to an Epoch Times analysis that shows a dramatic increase in deaths of 18- to 49-year-olds in the United States in the past year. The majority of those deaths weren’t associated with the COVID-19 disease.

Deaths in this age group rose more than 40 percent in the 12 months ending October 2021 compared to the same period in 2018–2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the analysis of death certificate data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

About 42 percent of the excess deaths had COVID-19 marked on the death certificate as the cause or a contributing factor, the data showed. The agency doesn’t yet have full 2021 figures, as death certificate data has a lag of up to eight weeks or more.

The Epoch Times repeatedly inquired with both the White House and the CDC about any steps they’re taking to examine the issue. They have yet to respond.

Meanwhile, public health authorities in several states that recorded particularly sharp increases have told The Epoch Times that they’re looking into the matter.

The highest increases occurred in Nevada (up 65 percent, of which 36 percent was attributed to COVID), Texas (up 61 percent, 58 percent attributed to COVID-19), Arizona (up 57 percent, 37 percent COVID-19), Tennessee (up 57 percent, 33 percent COVID-19), and California (up 55 percent, 42 percent COVID-19).

Texas, Florida, and Nevada indicated that they’re taking some steps to evaluate the issue.

Officials in Arizona and Tennessee said they don’t yet have their data finalized.

“When the 2021 data is finalized in the fall of 2022, we will have a better understanding of the data and a more detailed analysis,” Sarah Tanksley, communications director for the Tennessee Department of Health, said via email.

“However, we do know that fatal drug overdoses continue to increase. For example, fatal overdoses in 2020 were around 3,000 compared to approximately 2,000 in 2019. We also know that the suicide rate has remained relatively stable.”

Epoch Times Photo
A medical worker treats a non-COVID-19 patient in the ICU ward at UMass Memorial Medical Center in Worcester, Mass., on Jan. 4, 2022. (JOSEPH PREZIOSO/AFP via Getty Images)

Drug overdoses could likely explain at least a part of the surge, as they increased to more than 101,000 in the 12 months ending June 2021 from about 72,000 in 2019, the CDC estimated. About two-thirds of those deaths involved synthetic opioids such as fentanyl that are often smuggled to the United States from China via Mexico.

The mortality surge appeared to be milder in the northeast. New Hampshire saw no increase, Massachusetts had a 13 percent spike (24 percent of it attributed to COVID-19), and New York was up 29 percent (30 percent attributed to COVID-19).

The CDC’s detailed cause of death data isn’t yet available for 2021, aside from those involving COVID-19, pneumonia, and influenza. There were close to 6,000 excess pneumonia deaths that didn’t involve COVID-19 in the 18-to-49 age group in the 12 months ending October 2021. Influenza was only involved in 50 deaths in this age group, down from 550 in the same period pre-pandemic. The flu death count didn’t exclude those that also involved COVID-19 or pneumonia, the CDC noted.

For those aged 50 to 84, mortality increased more than 27 percent, with about 77 percent of the deaths involving COVID-19.

Epoch Times Photo
The Emergency Operations Center at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta on March 19, 2021. (Eric Baradat/AFP via Getty Images)

For those 85 or older, mortality increased about 12 percent, with more than 100,000 excess deaths. There were more than 130,000 COVID-related deaths in this group, indicating these seniors were less likely to die of a non-COVID-related cause from November 2020 to October 2021 than during the same period of 2018–2019.

Comparing 2020 to 2019, mortality increased some 24 percent for those aged 18 to 49, with less than a third of those excess deaths involving COVID-19. In the 50-to-84 age group, mortality increased less than 20 percent, with over 70 percent of that involving COVID-19. In those older yet, mortality increased about 16 percent, with nearly 90 percent of it involving COVID-19.

For those under 18, mortality decreased about 0.4 percent in 2020 compared to 2019. In the 12 months ending October 2021, it fell some 3.3 percent compared to the same period in 2018–2019.

Petr Svab
reporter
Petr Svab is a reporter covering New York. Previously, he covered national topics including politics, economy, education, and law enforcement.