Dec 17, 2020 - Health

Study finds nearly 12,000 excess deaths among young adults between March and July

Illustration of an upward trend line over a group of people, with others in the background grayed out
Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

There were nearly 12,000 more deaths than expected among young adults between March and July, according to new research published Wednesday in JAMA.

Why it matters: Only 38% of deaths in this age group were attributed directly to COVID-19, which suggests that COVID-19–related mortality may have been under-detected.

The big picture: The U.S. has recorded at least 356,000 "excess deaths" since this spring. And while yesterday's JAMA data indicate that the first few months of the pandemic were highly lethal for 25-44 year olds, overall the vast majority of excess deaths — about 80% — have been seniors.

What they're saying: "In the past, it took us too long to respond to the epidemics of opioids and HIV/AIDS when the young started dying in large numbers," the researchers said in a New York Times opinion piece on Wednesday. "Now that we have similar information about COVID-19, we must immediately address it."

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