Disease-specific excess mortality during the COVID-19 pandemic: An analysis of weekly US death data for 2020

Document Type



Office of the Provost; Cardiology


Objectives: To examine the disease-specific excess deaths during the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States.
Methods: We used weekly death data from the National Center for Health Statistics to analyze the trajectories of excess deaths from specific diseases in the United States during the COVID-19 pandemic, at the national level and in 4 states, from the first to 52nd week of 2020. We used the average weekly number of deaths in the previous 6 years (2014-2019) as baseline.
Results: Compared with the same week at baseline, the trajectory of number of excess deaths from cardiovascular disease (CVD) was highly parallel to the trajectory of the number of excess deaths related to COVID-19. The number of excess deaths from diabetes mellitus, influenza and respiratory diseases, and malignant neoplasms remained relatively stable over time.
Conclusions: The parallel trajectory of excess mortality from CVD and COVID-19 over time reflects the fact that essential health services for noncommunicable diseases were reduced or disrupted during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the severer the pandemic, the heavier the impact.


This work was published before the author joined Aga Khan University.

Publication (Name of Journal)

American Journal of Public Health