COVID-19 has been deadlier than cars for over 40 years
The death toll from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic was unprecedented due to the high number of severe coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infections with acute respiratory syndrome and the severity of the disease.
Researchers at artificial intelligence software company Nference report that deaths from COVID-19 in the past 12 months are higher than motor vehicle accidents among people over 40 years of age.
The study, published on the medRxiv * pre-print server, showed the death rate and death rate from COVID-19 compared to other historically leading causes of death in the United States.
Death rates for major causes of death in the United States stratified by age group. Comparison of the causes of death per 100,000 people in a given age group across all age groups. To make the mortality rates in the age groups with low mortality (0 to 39 years) more visible, we have added an enlarged insert.
In the 15 months, coronavirus disease caused widespread infections in 192 countries and territories. Of the more than 138 million cases worldwide, over 2.97 million people have died while many others are still fighting for their lives.
In the United States, the country reported the highest number of infections, reaching over 31.4 million and causing over 564,000 deaths to date. This is more than all of the American soldier deaths from the Vietnam War, Korean War, and World War II combined.
The disease burden of the ongoing pandemic was uneven. Most of the deaths involved the elderly and people with underlying health conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, and chronic respiratory disease. Increased death rates have also been reported among socio-economically disadvantaged groups and ethnic minorities.
Deaths by main causes of death in the United States by age group. Death Rate (CFR) by Age Group for COVID-19 (red), motor vehicle accidents (black), pancreatic cancer (purple), prostate cancer (gray), breast cancer (orange), lung cancer (cyan), leukemia (green) and the 2018-2019 flu ( blue, horizontal dashed lines). Vertical bars show 95% confidence intervals, and the shaded area is a visual guide to indicate CFR levels lower than COVID-19 CFR per age group. Data points are not displayed when a cause of death has a mortality rate of less than 0.1 deaths / 100,000 people within an age group. Flu data are shown as horizontal lines because the flu data is layered in different age groups16 than the other data shown. These data show that in people aged 40 to 49 years and older, infection with COVID-19 results in a higher CFR than involvement in a motor vehicle accident.
Mortality Rates and Death Rates from COVID-19
In the study, researchers presented the death rates and deaths from COVID-19 over the past year compared to other historically leading causes of death in the United States
To arrive at the study results, the researchers assessed the health risks and burden of disease for COVID-19 and other leading causes of death in the country over the past year, including cancer, flu, heart disease, suicide, homicide and motor vehicle accidents.
Population data was collected by the US Census Bureau, while statewide COVID-19 data was obtained from surveillance data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for public use. The team made sure cases and deaths were used between March 15, 2020 and March 14, 2021.
The researchers calculated the relative risks for each of the non-COVID-19 causes of death compared to COVID-19. For each age group, the team presented the risks of COVID-19, which can be a good reference point for the risk of COVID-19.
The COVID-19 pandemic is the third leading cause of death in people 40 years and older, with an overall annual death rate of 325 deaths per 100,000 people, behind just cancer, which caused 385 deaths per 100,000 people. Heart disease remains the leading cause of death, with a death rate of 412 deaths per 100,000 people.
In addition, deaths from COVID-19 are higher in people over 40 years of age than deaths in motor vehicle accidents. For example, the death rate for people between the ages of 40 and 49 is 1.5 times that of a motor vehicle accident. This means that COVID-19 is far more dangerous for this group of people than a car accident.
In the age group of 20 to 29 year olds, the relative death rate from motor vehicle accidents is 4.5 times higher than that of COVID-19.
The study results underscore the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic, especially among people over 40 years of age. It also highlights the need for a full implementation of public health measures to control the spread of the virus. Vaccination efforts are also critical to preventing serious illnesses not only in the elderly and those with comorbidities, but also in people over 40 years of age.
“It would be interesting to apply this analysis to data from developing countries, which may have significantly different main causes of death and mortality rates for COVID-19 and other risk categories,” the team added.
* Important NOTE
medRxiv publishes preliminary scientific reports that are not peer-reviewed and therefore should not be considered conclusive, guide clinical practice / health-related behavior, or be treated as established information.
- A. Puranik, M. Niesen, E. Lindemer, P. Lenehen, T. Cristea-Platon, C. Pawlowski and V. Soundararajan (2021). The death rate from COVID-19 is higher than the death rate from motor vehicle accidents in people over 40 years of age. medRxiv. https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2021.04.09.21255193v1