America’s Wake-Up Jolt?

The US COVID-19 death rate exceeds 18 other comparable countries, and the death rate from all causes in the US jumped sharply since the spring, CIDRAP reports, citing a pair of JAMA research letters.

The first study, from Harvard and University of Pennsylvania researchers, found that early on the US death rate of 0.06% was similar to other countries with high death rates like Italy (0.06%) and Belgium (0.09%). But the rates from May on, the US exceeded all other countries studied.

The other study, an update of excess deaths in the US, found that from March-August, 1,336,561 people died—20% more than expected.

Despite the fact that US death counts are remarkably consistent from year to year, COVID-19 was a documented cause of only 67% of these excess deaths, according to the Virginia Commonwealth University and Yale researchers.

In the long-term, even more deaths may be attributed to the pandemic—and furthermore, notes lead author Steven H. Woolf: “...death is only one measure of health,” he writes.

The Quote: “... an intense, persistent, multipronged, and coherent response must be the order of the day and an urgent priority for the nation,” writes Harvey Fineberg on a companion editorial in JAMA.

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