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The U.S. has seen far more deaths from heart disease during the coronavirus pandemic when compared to historical averages, according to a Washington Post analysis of federal data.
By the numbers: Five states hit the hardest in the pandemic's early days — Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey and New York — saw 8,300 more deaths from heart problems during March, April and May than usual, marking a 27% jump.
- Those states had a combined 75,000 "excess deaths" over that period, and 17,000 were not directly attributed to coronavirus infections.
- New York City was the epicenter of heart-linked excess deaths with more than 4,700.
The big picture: Emergency room visits for heart attacks fell by 23% in the 10 weeks following the declaration of a national emergency for the pandemic on March 13, per a CDC report.
- They dropped by 20% for stroke and 10% for uncontrolled high blood sugar, a key symptom of diabetes, in that same timeframe.
Why it matters: It highlights a deadly facet of the pandemic that can often be overlooked. Patients with serious heart conditions may have died "as a result of delaying or not seeking care as the outbreak progressed and swamped some hospitals," per the Post.