In a recent Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) published on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (US-CDC) website, researchers discussed provisional death estimates for 2022.
The National Vital Statistics System (NVSS) routinely gathers and documents mortality/death data for the United States (US) each year using death certificate data. It typically takes a year to process causes of death and compile absolute annual mortality data for a given year, so NVSS releases provisional mortality data early.
Between January and December 2022, per NVSS provisional mortality data, ~3,273,705 (or 3.2 million) deaths occurred in the USA, i.e., the US witnessed a decline of 5.3% from 879.7 in 2021 to 832.8 per 100,000 persons in 2022.
The data confirmed that overall age-adjusted and coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)–related death rates were highest among males aged ≥85 years and belonging to non-Hispanic Black, African Americans, non-Hispanic American Indians, and Alaskan natives.
In 2022, the top four causes of death were cancer, unintentional injuries, heart disease, and COVID-19. While deaths due to COVID-19 decreased in 2022 compared to 2021, drug overdose drove a higher number of deaths. Also, deaths due to heart disease and cancer, accounting for 695,547 and 605,213 deaths, respectively, increased in 2022 compared with 2021.
Overall mortality rates declined in the US for all age groups ≥15 years between 2021 and 2022, while it increased from 25 to 26.9 per 100,000 in children aged one to four years. During 2022, like in 2021, cumulative death rates were lowermost in individuals aged five to 14 years and maximum in older adults aged ≥85 years (14.8 vs. 15.6 per 100,000). Genderwise, between 2021 and 2022, death rates decreased by 6% and 4% among males and females, respectively.
In males, age-adjusted death rates were higher than in females in 2021 as well as 2022 at 1,048 and 733.3 and 984.8 and 700.9, respectively, though alterations in overall death rates for children below one year and aged between five to 14 years were insignificant.
Final mortality data is released ~11 months after the end of the data year. During this time, provisional death estimates, indicating shifts in mortality trends, could provide actionable data for researchers and policymakers. Before its release, policymakers could use provisional data to inform public health policies and design targeted interventions for reducing mortality. In the context of COVID-19, this data could help avert deaths (directly or indirectly) among people most affected, including older males or those belonging to racial/ethnic minorities.
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