A report released by the Arizona Public Health Association finds that number is enough to mean COVID-19 is the leading cause of death in Arizona, and has been since the pandemic began in March of last year. A member with a background in health statistics developed the report using data compiled from the state’s COVID-19 dashboard and the CDC Wonder database, a common tool for tracking data health care across the country.
He found that when COVID-19 deaths were annualized, Arizona had a per capita death rate of 177.8, higher for both heart disease and cancer, which are frequently the two leading causes of death. in the state.
AZPHA told ABC15 that the CDC’s Wonder data can only be considered complete until 2019, a common lag for health data that is not subject to emergency reporting requirements. Will Humble, executive director of AZPHA, told ABC15 that despite the lag, they remain confident in their findings, as heart disease and cancer death rates have remained relatively constant in Arizona in the CDC between 2010 and 2019.
The report also looked at two other western states with populations similar to Arizona; Washington and Colorado and found COVID-19 to be not the leading cause of death in either state. When they looked at the top five causes, COVID-19 came third in both states, and well below heart disease and cancer. While Colorado and Washington have slightly younger populations than Arizona, Humble, who has often criticized Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey’s handling of the pandemic, said that wouldn’t explain the big differences. and that the difference is one of policy.
“The policy changes and the differences between whether a state has done universal masking statewide, whether states encourage masking within the school system to reduce chains of transmission, whether the state has done anything thing against transmission in bars, restaurants and nightclubs. Our governor did nothing over the past winter, ”said Humble.
ABC15 has contacted the governor’s office for comment, but has yet to receive a response. Another possible reason for the gap may be in vaccination rates between the three states. According to data from the Mayo Clinic, Washington’s vaccination rate for people over 65 is 96.7%, in Colorado it is 93.4%. Arizona lags behind both states at 86.4%