Deaths in Georgia

As the total number of COVID-19 deaths have grown in Georgia, many have had questions about who is dying and when they died.

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 and Fridays).

Deaths by Date of Death

The Georgia DPH graph deaths by Date of Death on the DPH COVID Status Report, which allows us to see when deaths actually occurred, not just when they were reported. I track these changes daily, and report on how many deaths are reported that occurred in recent weeks versus further in the past. In mid-June, DPH implemented a death certificate matching process that increased reported deaths substantially while current deaths were very low. This caused a temporary spike in death reporting as they entered a lot of older deaths.

Below, you will see two graphs. The first graph shows the percentage of deaths reported each week that are added to graph within the 3 weeks prior to the week ending date. The second graph 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.

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, so you can see how this graph changes over time.

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:

  • About 75% of the deaths in Georgia are people 65 or older, while only 14% of Georgia’s population is 65 or older.
  • Over 35% of deaths in Georgia are people age 80 and older.
  • About 35% of the COVID deaths in Georgia come from nursing homes and other long-term care facilities, down from about half early on in the pandemic.
  • The average age of COVID fatalities in Georgia is ~74.
  • In Georgia, more people 90 and older have died than 55 and under. More people 80 and older have died than those under 70.

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