The United States has done the worst job at protecting the lives of its younger citizens from COVID — by far

Credit: Sky News
Credit: Sky News

While the elderly have been at the highest risk of becoming seriously ill due to COVID-19 infections, COVID-19 also affected mortality rates among younger individuals.

In this brief, we review excess death rates in the U.S. and peer countries by age groups to examine how the pandemic has affected excess mortality rate among younger people. 

We find that, among similarly large and wealthy countries, the U.S. had among the highest excess mortality rates in 2020, and younger people were more likely to have died due to the pandemic in the U.S. than younger people in other countries. With a much higher rate of death among people under age 75, the U.S. had the highest increase in premature deaths due the pandemic in 2020.

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The higher rate of new premature deaths in the U.S. compared to peer countries was driven in part by racial disparities within the U.S. Looking at age differences in excess mortality by race, we find that American Indian and Alaska Native (AIAN), Hispanic, Black, and Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander (NHOPI) people in the U.S. were more likely to have died at younger ages during the pandemic in 2020 than non-elderly White or Asian adults in the U.S.

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