People Thought Covid-19 Was Relatively Harmless for Younger Adults. They Were Wrong.


New research shows that July may have been the deadliest month for young adults in modern American history.

Jeremy Samuel Faust, Harlan M. Krumholz and 

Dr. Faust is a doctor at Brigham and Women’s Hospital Department of Emergency Medicine. Dr. Krumholz is a professor of medicine at Yale. Dr. Walensky, chief of the division of infectious diseases at Massachusetts General Hospital, has been nominated by President-elect Biden to be the director of the C.D.C.

The largest burden of Covid-19 has undoubtedly fallen on people older than 65, accounting for around 80 percent of deaths in the United States. But if we momentarily eclipse that from our mind’s eye, something else becomes visible: The corona of this virus.

Young adults are dying at historic rates. In research published on Wednesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association, we found that among U.S. adults ages 25 to 44, from March through the end of July, there were almost 12,000 more deaths than were expected based on historical norms.

In fact, July appears to have been the deadliest month among this age group in modern American history. Over the past 20 years, an average of 11,000 young American adults died each July. This year that number swelled to over 16,000.

The trends continued this fall. Based on prior trends, around 154,000 in this demographic had been projected to die in 2020. We surpassed that total in mid-November. Even if death rates suddenly return to normal in December — and we know they have not — we would anticipate well over 170,000 deaths among U.S. adults in this demographic by the end of 2020.

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