The number of people dying of cardiovascular disease (CVD) in the US escalated during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic by 6.2 per cent, according to a study.
The rise in the number of CVD deaths in 2020, from 874,613 CVD-related deaths recorded in 2019 to 928,741 in 2020, represents the largest single-year increase since 2015 and topped the previous high of 910,000 recorded in 2003, according to the latest available data from the Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics – 2023 Update of the American Heart Association, a global force for healthier lives for all, the study said.
The study has been published in the journal Circulation.
“While the total number of CVD-related deaths increased from 2019 to 2020, what may be even more telling is that our age-adjusted mortality rate increased for the first time in many years and by a fairly substantial 4.6 per cent,” said the volunteer chair of the Statistical Update writing group Connie W. Tsao, an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School, US.
“The age-adjusted mortality rate takes into consideration that the total population may have more older adults from one year to another, in which case you might expect higher rates of death among older people.
“So even though our total number of deaths has been slowly increasing over the past decade, we have seen a decline each year in our age-adjusted rates – until 2020.
“I think that is very indicative of what has been going on within our country – and the world – in light of people of all ages being impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, especially before vaccines were available to slow the spread,” said Tsao.