Minnesota’s death rate increased 17 percent during the first year of the pandemic, driven by both COVID-19 and other preventable deaths of despair from overdoses, alcohol use and malnutrition, according to new findings from researchers at Rochester, Minn.-based Mayo Clinic.
Researchers looked at death certificate data for 89,910 deaths in 2018-19 and 52,030 deaths in 2020 to assess the pandemic’s effects on mortality in the state. Compared to the two years before the pandemic, deaths from firearm assaults, accidental poisonings, malnutrition, and alcoholic liver disease increased significantly.
“We were expecting to see heart disease, cancer, stroke, all those things where people delay care, and we didn’t see any of that,” Rozalina McCoy, MD, lead study author said in a March 13 news release. Dr. McCoy is an endocrinologist and primary care physician at Mayo Clinic.
“As the COVID-19 pandemic enters its third year, it is imperative to examine and address the factors contributing to excess mortality in the short-term and monitor for additional morbidity and mortality in the years to come,” researchers said.