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300,000 more deaths than normal in US this year, CDC says

People who didn't seek medical attention for other issues because hospitals were busy with COVID-19 patients may have played a role, the CDC says.

NEW YORK — A new government report shows that since the coronavirus pandemic began, the U.S. has seen 300,000 more deaths than it usually would.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been tracking how many deaths have been reported and comparing them with counts seen in other years. Usually, between the beginning of February and the end of September, about 1.9 million deaths are reported. This year, it’s closer to 2.2 million – a 14.5% increase.

The CDC's official count of confirmed deaths related to COVID-19 was 219,499 as of Tuesday afternoon. A tracker from Johns Hopkins University had it at nearly 221,000.

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The CDC says the coronavirus was involved in about two-thirds of the excess deaths. CDC officials say it’s likely the virus was a factor in many other deaths too. For example, someone with heart attack symptoms may have hesitated to go to a hospital that was busy with coronavirus patients.

The largest segment of the excess deaths, about 95,000, were in elderly people ages 75 to 84. That was 21.5% more than in a normal year. But the biggest relative increase, 26.5%, was in people ages 25 to 44. Deaths in people younger than 25 actually dropped slightly.

Deaths were up for different racial and ethnic groups, but the largest increase – 54% – was among Hispanic Americans.

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TEGNA Staff contributed to this report.

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