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Mortality from all causes decreased in inmates with COVID-19

The death rate from all causes between mid-February and mid-March began to decline across the United States, however, the decrease in deaths among prisoners with COVID-19 was less dramatic than expected, according to data released by the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on Wednesday.

The data categories of deaths in U. S. states reveal that between Jan. 1 and April 16 there were 1, 921 deaths in the 25 states that conducted their death and disability assessments. There were a total of 482 deaths from natural causes. Overall, in Tennessee, the death rate from all causes was 289 deaths per 100, 000 people in April.

The proportion of deaths in this group that were due to natural causes nudged upward during the month was 2. 9%, compared with 3. 7% in the mid-March, but a substantial drop. In Mississippi, for example, the death rate was 23. 3% in April, down from 24. 8% the month before.

“We are very encouraged by the reduction in deaths among inmates with COVID-19 compared with the mid-March, ” says Dr. John Newton, an epidemiologist at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School who helped compile the data uncovered by HHS. “I think that’s to be encouraged because it suggests that there’s a real reduction in this group that’s being driven by the treatment of patients and a very different take-up of care. ”

During the first two months of 2019, urban deaths in Texas remained lower than expected, which was largely driven by a 39-day stretch from mid-March through April 27, which catapulted the numbers temporarily higher. However, 13 of the 25 states for which data is available saw rates drop to 9. 8% in April.

Discouraged by the uncertainty about the recovery rates for their respective low- and high-incarceration populations, HHS has fixed some of its own likely accounting methods and set goals to reduce itsrate of deaths among prisoners by 1%, for a population of at least 2 million.

In recent months, HHS has released dozens of 2019 data sets, including the latest COVID-19 death estimates, a value-added technology research tool and a price-of-living index.