One in eight Colorado deaths in the last year involved COVID-19

Coronavirus

FILE – In this Dec. 22, 2020, file photo, registered nurses Robin Gooding, left, and Johanna Ortiz treat a COVID-19 patient at Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in the Mission Hills section of Los Angeles. Coronavirus deaths in the U.S. hit another one-day high on Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021, at over 4,300 with the country’s attention focused largely on the fallout from the deadly uprising at the Capitol. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)

DENVER (KDVR) — For the last year, one in every eight deaths in Colorado involved COVID-19.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment provided Data Desk a record of monthly death totals going back to January 2015.

The information is still provisional, meaning it is new and subject to change, but the numbers provided say there were 5,912 deaths where COVID was a factor. There were 41,872 non-COVID deaths in the same timeframe, or 12% of the deaths of all causes.

National provisional data gives an almost identical national total. There were 503,052 deaths involving COVID in the last year, and 3,894,727 non-COVID deaths. Nationwide, 13% of deaths in the last year involved COVID.

In Colorado, these deaths were almost entirely concentrated in older age groups.

Of the total deaths, 4,892 occurred in the 65+ age group, or 84%. Another 13% of COVID-related deaths were concentrated in the 45-64 age group.

Less than 2% of Colorado’s COVID deaths – 113 deaths total – happened to individuals under the age of 45 – ironically, the groups most likely to spread the virus in the first place.

The state hasn’t recorded a death for anyone under the age of 18.

The total number of monthly and yearly deaths in Colorado had already been trending upward in recent years as the state’s population surged, but COVID deaths produced significantly more.

The monthly average number of deaths has gone up with population every year since 2015. Every year, the average monthly death count climbs by about 50 people. In 2016, 3,180 Coloradans died every month on average, and the next year 3,330 died every month.

COVID deaths skew that average dramatically.

On average, just under 4,000 Coloradans died every month, about 650 more per month than in 2019.

December was the deadliest. Winter months usually have higher death rates, but COVID added another 33% onto the usual death count – again following national trends.

Since Colorado’s fall COVID wave was worse than the U.S. at large, its winter death counts were also worse.

Colorado spent most of the pandemic with a smaller percentage of its overall deaths COVID-related than the U.S. That changed in November.

In both November and December, Colorado had more of its overall death count related to COVID than the U.S. In November, one-quarter of Colorado’s deaths were COVID-related. In December, one-third were.

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