loading page

Severity of the COVID-19 pandemic assessed with all-cause mortality in the United States during 2020.
  • +1
  • Fredrick Dahlgren,
  • Lauren Rossen,
  • Alicia Fry,
  • Carrie Reed
Fredrick Dahlgren
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Author Profile
Lauren Rossen
National Center for Health Statistics
Author Profile
Alicia Fry
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Author Profile
Carrie Reed
Author Profile


Background. In the United States, infection with SARS-CoV-2 caused 380,000 reported deaths from March to December 2020. Methods. We adapted the Moving Epidemic Method to all-cause mortality data from the United States to assess the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic across age groups and all 50 states. By comparing all-cause mortality during the pandemic with intensity thresholds derived from recent, historical all-cause mortality, we categorized each week from March to December 2020 as either low severity, moderate severity, high severity, or very high severity. Results. Nationally for all ages combined, all-cause mortality was in the very high severity category for 9 weeks. Among people 18 to 49 years of age, there were 29 weeks of consecutive very high severity mortality. Forty-seven states, the District of Columbia, and New York City each experienced at least one week of very high severity mortality for all ages combined. Conclusions. These periods of very high severity of mortality during March through December 2020 are likely directly or indirectly attributable to the COVID-19 pandemic. This method for standardized comparison of severity over time across different geographies and demographic groups provides valuable information to understand the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and to identify specific locations or subgroups for deeper investigations into differences in severity.
12 Aug 2021Submitted to Influenza and other respiratory viruses
13 Aug 2021Submission Checks Completed
13 Aug 2021Assigned to Editor
15 Aug 2021Reviewer(s) Assigned
25 Sep 2021Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
25 Sep 2021Editorial Decision: Revise Minor
26 Sep 20211st Revision Received
27 Sep 2021Submission Checks Completed
27 Sep 2021Assigned to Editor
28 Sep 2021Editorial Decision: Accept
May 2022Published in Influenza and Other Respiratory Viruses volume 16 issue 3 on pages 411-416. 10.1111/irv.12923