Close Close
ThinkAdvisor

The 5 Highest-Population States' Current COVID-19 Mortality Picture

X
Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.
X
Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.

Early signs suggest that the current U.S. COVID-19 surge could be more deadly than the catastrophic surge that swept the country in the fall.

The total number of U.S. COVID-19 deaths reported in the federal government’s COVID-19 Community Profile Report increased to 16,565 in the week ending Feb. 1.

That’s up 74.5%, from 9,492, for the week ending Sept. 14, 2021, which was the deadliest week of the fall surge.

For a look at changes in the number of COVID-19 deaths between the week ending Sept. 14, 2021, and the week ending Feb. 1 in the five highest-population states, see the gallery above.

For data on all 50 states and the District of Columbia, see the chart below.

The Mortality Backdrop

Life insurers had hoped that vaccination campaigns, social distancing efforts and the effects of past COVID-19 infections on people’s immune systems would start to reduce the impact of the pandemic on people with commercial life insurance and other commercial insurance products.

While the fall 2021 surge was underway, information about deaths and life insurance claims emerged slowly. Some life insurers suggested that the fall surge seemed to be spiking hard but ending quickly.

Now, Unum Group, Lincoln Financial, MetLife and other life insurers are saying that the fall surge did cause big increases in the ratio of death benefits to life insurance premiums. At Unum, for example, the ratio increased to 98.3% in the latest quarter, from 71.7% in the fourth quarter of 2019, before the pandemic began.

But those insurers have generally reported strong profits, despite the effects of the pandemic, because of the strong performance of annuities, non-life employee benefits units and other operations.

Data Limitations

The federal government depends on states to report COVID-19 data and other death data.

Factors other than the actual number of deaths that could affect the death statistics include state enthusiasm about death reporting, changes in state cause-of-death assignment rules, and changes in how physicians go about assigning causes of death and reporting deaths.

In some cases, for example, big surges in deaths could overwhelm the people and organizations responsible for reporting deaths.

The final number of total deaths caused by a surge depends on how long the surge lasts as well as the intensity of the surge in the peak week.

The Community Profile Reports do not provide breakdowns of deaths by age, income or other measures, and it’s possible that the current surge could cause a much bigger impact on mortality in the general population than in the insured population.

COVID-19 Deaths: The Current Surge Versus the Fall Surge

Week Ending Sept. 14, 2021 Week Ending Feb. 1, 2022 Change Between September Peak and Week Ending Feb. 1
Alabama 121 135 +11.6%
Alaska 14 13 -7.1%
Arizona 251 721 +187.3%
Arkansas 226 111 -50.9%
California 144 1,264 +777.8%
Colorado 94 231 +145.7%
Connecticut 51 303 +494.1%
Delaware 11 55 +400.0%
District of Columbia 4 12 +200.0%
Florida 105 66 -37.1%
Georgia 686 565 -17.6%
Hawaii 33 34 +3.0%
Idaho 94 80 -14.9%
Illinois 311 911 +192.9%
Indiana 317 559 +76.3%
Iowa 94 156 +66.0%
Kansas 95 200 +110.5%
Kentucky 44 14 -68.2%
Louisiana 462 268 -42.0%
Maine 30 43 +43.3%
Maryland 102 299 +193.1%
Massachusetts 95 495 +421.1%
Michigan 89 342 +284.3%
Minnesota 45 237 +426.7%
Mississippi 222 218 -1.8%
Missouri 208 438 +110.6%
Montana 33 29 -12.1%
Nebraska 12 73 +508.3%
Nevada 159 215 +35.2%
New Hampshire 18 53 +194.4%
New Jersey 123 607 +393.5%
New Mexico 16 156 +875.0%
New York 238 1,133 +376.1%
North Carolina 411 482 +17.3%
North Dakota 13 29 +123.1%
Ohio 245 1,048 +327.8%
Oklahoma 272 149 -45.2%
Oregon 164 130 -20.7%
Pennsylvania 243 1,087 +347.3%
Puerto Rico 95 133 +40.0%
Rhode Island 25 59 +136.0%
South Carolina 265 367 +38.5%
South Dakota 18 51 +183.3%
Tennessee 416 521 +25.2%
Texas 1,959 1,302 -33.5%
Utah 67 65 -3.0%
Vermont 9 18 +100.0%
Virginia 193 358 +85.5%
Washington 292 236 -19.2%
West Virginia 110 128 +16.4%
Wisconsin 109 341 +212.8%
Wyoming 39 25 -35.9%
TOTAL 9,492 16,565 +74.5%
MEDIAN +80.9%

..

(Image: rsvzarvas)