COVID-19 : How does the US reach half a million coronavirus deaths?

CDC projects 534,000 deaths by the end of February 0:46

(CNN Spanish) – The United States is approaching 500,000 deaths from the coronavirus, a figure that no other country has counted.

In this episode, Dr. Elmer Huerta analyzes why, if the United States has a lower death rate than other countries, it still leads the number of deaths.

Also, we assess whether socioeconomic and racial conditions are an important factor in this number.

You can listen to this episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or your favorite podcast platform, or read the transcript below.

Hello, I am Dr. Elmer Huerta and this is your daily dose of information on the new coronavirus. Information that we hope will be useful to take care of your health and that of your family.

The United States is about to be the first country to reach half a million deaths caused by covid-19 in the world.

The death rate in the United States

The daily death rate from Covid-19 in the United States, in December 2020, was equivalent to the daily death of passengers on 15 Airbus 320 aircraft with 150 passengers each.

Today, we will see what are the most important social factors that could influence such a high number of deaths.

The term mortality in public health refers to the number of deaths from a disease in a certain period of time and in a specific geographic location. With these data, it is then said that, in a year, a certain amount of deaths occurred in a certain country.

Because not all countries have the same number of inhabitants and in order to be able to compare the number of deaths, the specialists correct the data, referring them to the number of inhabitants and calculating the mortality rate per 100,000 inhabitants.

For example, the United States, with more than 499,000 deaths and the highest absolute number in the world, has 152 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants, a lower death rate than Belgium, England, Italy, Portugal and other countries.

That said, which is important in order to be able to compare mortality data from different countries, it is important to analyze why there have been so many deaths in the United States.

Why does the US register so many deaths from covid-19?

There are many studies that have been done to answer this question, and most point to social, economic, racial and health access reasons.

For example, a study at the University of California, San Diego, conducted to find out whether “essential” workers – who are mostly immigrants and from racial and ethnic minorities – have a higher risk of death from COVID-19, found that workers Farmworkers have unique risks of contracting COVID-19 and dying from the disease.

The study concludes that this higher mortality could be statistically associated with certain social determinants of health, such as not speaking English and living in poverty.

In another study of mathematical simulation, carried out by researchers from Harvard University, they try to find out why deaths from COVID-19 occur disproportionately among racial and ethnic minorities, and in areas with the highest concentration of poverty.

Researchers find huge social differences in mortality from covid-19.

For example, adults living in households whose income was less than the country’s median income accounted for two-thirds of deaths from COVID-19.

Similarly, people who did not finish high school accounted for about 1 in 4 deaths, while veterans accounted for almost 1 in 5 deaths.

Minorities, those that register the most deaths from coronavirus in the country

The authors conclude that society must guarantee adequate access to health systems for these groups and that public health measures must be specifically directed at these groups.

Another interesting Canadian pre-release shows that counties with higher proportions of Republican voters, heavy drinkers, children living in single-parent households, more uninsured adults, more racial minorities, more women, higher population density population, higher environmental pollution and residential segregation between whites and non-whites, had higher death rates from covid-19.

In summary, covid-19, which since October 2020, became the third leading cause of death in the United States for people aged 45 to 84 and the second leading cause of death for people over 85, has very socioeconomic roots. strong, proving that the pandemic has only exposed the socioeconomic inequalities of the countries through which it has passed.

Do you have questions about covid-19?

Send me your questions on Twitter, we will try to answer them in our next episodes. You can find me at @DrHuerta.

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