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Most U.S. COVID-19-Related Deaths Occur in Medical Facility

Odds of dying in medical facility versus home up 11.5-fold for COVID-19-linked deaths versus 2018 deaths

coronavirus

WEDNESDAY, July 15, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- Most COVID-19-related deaths in the United States occur in a medical facility, according to a study published online July 9 in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Sarah Chuzi, M.D., from the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, and colleagues examined the distribution of place of COVID-19-related deaths in the United States using data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for deaths from Feb. 1, 2020, through May 23, 2020.

A total of 81,372 deaths from COVID-19 were reported between Feb. 1, 2020, and May 23, 2020. The researchers found that 68.7, 22.7, 5.2, and 1.9 percent of deaths occurred in medical facilities, nursing facilities, homes, and hospice, respectively. The highest proportion of home deaths occurred in Wisconsin, followed by New York (9 and 8 percent of deaths, respectively). For historical comparison, the proportions of the 947,739 deaths from all causes reported between Feb. 1, 2018, and May 31, 2018, occurring in medical facilities, nursing facilities, homes, and hospice were 35.7, 19.1, 31.1, and 7.9 percent, respectively. The odds of dying in a medical facility versus home were increased 11.5-fold for COVID-19-related deaths in 2020 versus deaths in 2018.

"These results highlight yet another way that COVID-19 has impacted the health care system," Chuzi said in a statement. "While recent research shows U.S. deaths in medical facilities are decreasing and deaths at home and in hospice facilities are increasing, the burden of deaths attributed to COVID-19 may reverse these overall trends."

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