DENVER (AP) — Almost 9,000 more people than usual died in Colorado in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and other causes.
COVID-19 either directly caused or was a contributing factor in 4,900 deaths, or more than half of the excess mortality, according to health officials.
Deaths from all causes jumped by over 23%. Even accounting for population growth, mortality was up 18% compared to the five-year average.
Why more people died of some causes besides the novel coronavirus isn’t clear, The Denver Post reported.
COVID-19 was Colorado’s third-leading cause of death behind cancer and heart disease last year. Chronic liver disease, Alzheimer’s disease and drug overdoses accounted for more deaths than usual, according to an analysis of death certificate data.
People of color were especially hard hit in 2020. Age-adjusted death rates increased more than 30% for Latino, Asian American and Black communities in Colorado.
Deaths of white Coloradans increased 8% as fewer deaths from other causes offset mortality from COVID-19.
Deaths from influenza and pneumonia were 23% lower than would be expected. Researchers speculate widespread mask-wearing helped prevent viruses besides the coronavirus from spreading.