Tuesday, June 30, 2020

From the CDC: Age Distribution of U.S. Covid-19 and Influenza/Pneumonia Deaths

Centers for Disease Control data shows that, as with influenza/pneumonia, age is the most important factor in Covid-19 deaths. 

Two weeks ago, I published charts illustrating U.S. influenza and pneumonia deaths over the last decade, and I suggested that the age distribution of these deaths might be a template for age distribution for the current Covid-19 epidemic. 

CDC data (here) indicate the age distribution of 108,000 U.S. Covid-19 deaths from February 1 through June 20.  The chart at left shows that the distribution mostly reflects that of flu/pneumonia, with some exceptions.  The biggest difference involves the most elderly population, 85+ years.  Surprisingly, that cohort represents only one-third of Covid-19 deaths, compared with 46% of those attributable to flu/pneumonia.  The lower percentage among the oldest population is partially made up by the 65-74 group, which comprise 21% of Covid-19 deaths versus 13% for flu/pneumonia.  Overall, the 65+ year population accounts for 81% of Covid-19 deaths, just under the 84% percentage for flu/pneumonia.  Note that the Covid-19 percentage is also higher than flu/pneumonia in the 55-64 year age group, 12% versus 8%. 

The news is somewhat better for younger age groups, as seen in the second chart below.  Those under 35 years of age are not contributing deaths from Covid-19, compared with flu/pneumonia.

The U.S. is now experiencing a near-nationwide surge in Covid-19 cases, and health officials predict that it is only a matter of time until deaths surge as well.  These charts can guide readers in establishing their risk and risk tolerance.

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