Deaths in Georgia

COVID-19 has taken a toll on Georgians, and sadly, has cost over 2000 people their lives in the state. As the total number of deaths increases each day, many have had questions about who is dying and when they died.

New fatalities from COVID are on the decline, although some days reports of new fatalities are much higher. When you see the total of deaths increase each day, it’s important to remember that those deaths occurred over several different days, not just the previous day. The reason for this is that it takes time to determine cause of death and report deaths to DPH. The numbers aren’t reported real-time and are often fluctuate, where they are lower on weekends, and higher during the week (especially on Tuesdays).

Deaths Over Time

Death in Georgia have been declining. You can see this on the DPH graph of Deaths Over Time on the DPH COVID Status Report. Another way to look at this is to look how many deaths are reported that occurred in the previous two weeks. For a while, a lot of the deaths being added to the DPH totals were older deaths, as DPH manually matched death reports to cases. In mid-June, the process for matching deaths to cases was improved, which caused a temporary spike in death reporting as they entered a lot of other deaths, followed by deaths being entered much more quickly, often within a week of the person’s death.

From AJC article, “Coronavirus cases on the rise again in Georgia (June 16, 2020)

Below, you will see two graphs. One shows how many of the deaths were reported within the first and second weeks after the person died, and how many were reported after more than 14 days. The other graph shows the percentage of deaths reported each week that are added to graph within the 3 weeks prior to the week end. You can see that deaths are being reported in a more timely manner with much less reporting lag since mid-June.

Here’s how the 7-day moving average line on the GA DPH Deaths Over Time graph (by date of death) has looked each week over the past few months. Until recently, deaths have been regularly added as far back as April, instead of only being added in recent weeks. Now that DPH has improved their process for matching death reports to cases, and you can see that the lines for June 27 and July 4 are almost exactly the same as prior week, other than the most recent two weeks. That’s because most deaths are now being added within about 10 days, and very few older deaths are reported.

Deaths by County

I recently looked at deaths in Georgia at the county level by day of death, and comparing the current hot spots to the rest of Georgia. I separated out several counties where deaths have been increasing, while the state overall is decreasing.

These counties weren’t hit as bad early on like much of the rest of Georgia. Now those counties are seeing outbreaks that are leading to an increase in deaths. However, my hope is that enough has changed since March/April that we will see better outcomes from these outbreaks, with lower fatality rates.

Deaths by Age

The DPH site allows you to access the raw data of individual deaths with age, sex, county, and existence of an underlying condition. It can be viewed on the Deaths in Georgia tab on the DPH COVID Status Report. If you are really interested in this data, I recommend downloading the CSV file at the top of the page.

Analyzing these deaths has consistently shown that COVID fatalities have disproportionately affected older populations. When I last analyzed the age spread of deaths in Georgia, here are some of the statistics I found:

  • 78% of the deaths in Georgia are people 65 or older, while only 14% of Georgia’s population is 65 or older.
  • 54% of deaths in Georgia are people age 75 and older.
  • 13% of the deaths in Georgia are people aged 90 and older.
  • Half of the COVID deaths in Georgia come from nursing homes and other long-term care facilities.
  • The average age of COVID fatalities in Georgia is 74.
  • In Georgia, more people 90 and older have died than 55 and under.

On the other hand, COVID is rarely fatal to younger populations.

  • Less than 10% of deaths are those are under 55, and 3% (63 deaths) are under 45.
  • Only 3 deaths have occurred in Georgians under 25 years of age, and all three had underlying conditions. That’s 0.1% of all COVID deaths in Georgia. The risk is extremely low for this age group.
  • The youngest patient to die of COVID-19 in Georgia was a 17-year-old boy from Fulton County with underlying conditions.