Mar 27, 2023 - COVID

Colorado recorded 5th-most COVID-19 deaths, which now top 15,000

Cumulative COVID-19 death rates, by state
Data: The Lancet; Map: Alice Feng/Axios

Three years after the pandemic arrived in Colorado, the state reached a bleak milestone: 15,000 COVID-19 deaths.

What's happening: The state reported 15,007 deaths as of Wednesday, making it the most deadly event in Colorado in history, CPR reports. The first fatality was on March 13, 2020.

  • COVID-19 deaths are roughly double the 1918 flu pandemic that ravaged the state and far more than those from world wars.
  • The coronavirus decreased the state's life expectancy in 2020 and 2021 and was the third leading cause of death.

What they're saying: "15,000 deaths is just terrible and it kind of forces us to reflect on what's happened," Anuj Mehta, a pulmonary care physician at Denver Health, said. "COVID has done so much more than just killed people. It's impacted people's lives."

The big picture: Colorado recorded the fifth most COVID-19 deaths in the nation when adjusted for age and comorbidities at 473 per 100,000 people, according to an analysis published in The Lancet. The state trails only Arizona, Washington, D.C., New Mexico and Mississippi.

  • Higher poverty, lower educational attainment, less access to quality health care and lower levels of interpersonal trust disproportionately led to higher rates of COVID infections and death, Axios' Tina Reed writes.
  • The analysis found no association between the political affiliation of the state governor and death rates.
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