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COVID-19 pandemic brings nearly 41,000 'excess deaths' to Ohio

CDC data captures the two years of misery brought by the COVID-19 pandemic in Ohio and across the country. [Shutterstock / New Africa]
A pallbearer helps carry a casket during a funeral.

Ohio has recorded nearly 41,000 “excess deaths” since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to  government mortality data.

Researchers lookedat the number of deaths that occurred in the U.S. during the six years prior to 2020 to establish the "expected" number of deaths. They compared that number to the number of reported deaths to determine "excess" deaths in the U.S. and in individual states.

The Buckeye State ranks fourth in the nation in the number of these excess deaths. Only California, Texas, and Florida have recorded greater numbers of excess deaths than Ohio, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Nationally, the pandemic has brought more than 1 million excess deaths.



In 2019, before the pandemic, some 2.8 million people died in the U.S., according to the CDC. In 2020 and again in 2021 about half-million more people than normal died each year, data shows.

The majority of those deaths were caused by COVID-19, which has claimed the lives of more than 35,000 Ohioans, but the data also shows that during the pandemic more people than normal have died from other maladies, including heart disease, hypertension and dementia.

CDC officials acknowledge that many deaths caused directly or indirectly by COVID-19 may not have been captured in the "excess deaths" data. Some may be assigned to other causes of death.

For example, there may be cases where COVID-19 was not diagnosed or mentioned on the death certificate, according to the CDC. Deaths attributed to other causes may be indirectly related to the pandemic – especially if they occurred in the context of healthcare shortages or overburdened health care systems.

Stephanie is the deputy editor of news at Ideastream Public Media.