Latest Federal Data Show That Young People Are More Likely Than Older Adults to Be Experiencing Symptoms of Anxiety or Depression

Latest Federal Data Show That Young People Are More Likely Than Older Adults to Be Experiencing Symptoms of Anxiety or Depression


Young adults in the United States continue to be more likely than their older counterparts to be experiencing symptoms of anxiety or depression, according to the latest federal data analyzed by KFF researchers.

The analysis of the Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey finds that half (50%) of adults ages 18-24 reported anxiety and depression symptoms in 2023, compared to about a third of adults overall. The data also show that young adults are more likely than adults of any other age group to experience mental health symptoms.

Many young adults have come of age in an era of pandemic-related school closures, remote work and job and income loss, all of which may contribute to poor mental health. Additionally, young adults in college settings may encounter increased difficulty accessing treatment.

But young adults are not alone in experiencing heightened mental health symptoms. The mental health and substance use concerns that were present during the COVID-19 crisis continue to affect many Americans, even as many people try to move beyond the pandemic, Census data show.

Nearly 4 in 10 (39.3%) adults reported symptoms of anxiety or depression in February 2021, compared to 32.3 percent in 2023.  A KFF/CNN survey in October 2022 found that 90 percent of the public believes there is a mental health crisis in the U.S..

Poor mental health has also been more pronounced among adolescent females during the pandemic, with 57 percent reporting feelings of hopelessness and sadness compared to 29 percent of their male peers in 2021, the latest such data available. In the same period, 30 percent of adolescent females reported that they seriously considered attempting suicide, compared to 14 percent of adolescent males.

Additionally, drug overdose deaths have sharply increased during the pandemic. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data, in 2021 there were over 106,600 deaths due to drug overdose in the U.S. — the highest on record. This spike in deaths has primarily been driven by substances laced with synthetic opioids, including illicitly manufactured fentanyl.

Here again young people especially have been affected.  Research suggests that while substance use among adolescents has declined, drug overdose deaths have sharply increased among this population, primarily due to fentanyl-laced substances. Among adolescents, drug overdose deaths have more than doubled from 2019 (282 deaths) to 2021 (637 deaths). Male, Black, and Hispanic youth have experienced the highest increases in deaths due to drug overdose.

The analysis details several changes in the delivery of mental health and substance use services that have been implemented since the onset of the pandemic, including the growth of telehealth, steps to improve access to treatment for opioid use disorders, expansion of school-based mental health care, and the rollout of the 988 national suicide prevention and crisis line.

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NY Department of Health announces new COVID guidelines for nursing home visitors

NY Department of Health announces new COVID guidelines for nursing home visitors



ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — The New York State Department of Health announced new COVID guidelines for visiting nursing homes. According to the statement, visitors no longer must have a negative test before entry or to screened for COVID.

The new guidance, according to DOH officials, supersedes all previous guidance for nursing home screening and testing. The department currently recommends that nursing facilities use applicable practices such as wearing face masks, having specified entrances, exits, and routes, disinfecting and cleaning surfaces, and continuing to wash their hands.

It is currently optional for nursing facilities to continue testing or screening visitors at their discretion. This includes visitors completing a questionnaire, an in-person interview, or having their temperature taken. DOH recommends facilities in counties with high levels of transmission to offer to test.

“Our new guidance aligns with CMS guidance and recommends that facilities use passive screening, which includes providing visitor and staff education on COVID-19 signs and symptoms, and post instructional signage throughout the facility,“ said NYS Health Commissioner Dr. James McDonald.

The department said that all nursing home staff and visitors should continue to follow COVID infection prevention.



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COVID-19 in Virginia: 7-day positivity rate drops to 6.1%; new cases down 25%

COVID-19 in Virginia: 7-day positivity rate drops to 6.1%; new cases down 25%


RICHMOND, Va. — In an effort to provide accurate, easy-to-read information on the COVID-19 pandemic and on-going vaccination efforts, WTVR.com will update this post weekly with statistics from the Virginia Department of Health. New cases last week (3,361) decreased from the number of cases reported the week before (4,511).

COVID-19 IN VIRGINIA (Scroll to bottom for U.S. stats)

Positive COVID-19 Cases Since Start of Pandemic: 2,295,312 (+3,361 from last Tuesday)

COVID-19-Linked Deaths Since Start of Pandemic: 23,775 (+20 from last Tuesday)

TESTING

7-Day Positivity Average for Virginia: 6.1% on March 13 (Down from 7.3% on March 6)

VACCINATIONS

People Fully Vaccinated: 6,337,001 (+1,153 from last week)
% of Population Fully Vaccinated: 73.8% (No change from last week)

People Fully Vaccinated with Booster/Additional Doses: 5,291,792 (+6,971 from last week)

**Scroll down for week-to-week COVID cases comparison**

COMPLETE COVERAGE: COVID Community Levels: Metro Richmond remains green; 5 Central Virginia localities are medium

COVID-19 Community Levels calculated on March 16, 2023.

CDC

COVID-19 Community Levels calculated on March 16, 2023.

VACCINATE VIRGINIA: Virginians age 6 months+ are eligible for COVID-19 vaccine. Visit the Vaccinate Virginia website or call 877-VAX-IN-VA (877-275-8343). You can also search for specific vaccines as well as which ones are available near you via the Vaccine Finder website.

TRACKING COVID IN VIRGINIA: WEEK-BY-WEEK COMPARISON

Week of Mach 8-14
Positive COVID-19 Cases: +3,361
COVID-19-Linked Deaths: +20

Week of Mach 1-7
Positive COVID-19 Cases: +4,511
COVID-19-Linked Deaths: +17

Week of Feb. 22-28
Positive COVID-19 Cases: + 5,234
COVID-19-Linked Deaths: +30

Week of Feb. 15-21
Positive COVID-19 Cases: + 5,826
COVID-19-Linked Deaths: +131

Week of Feb. 8-14
Positive COVID-19 Cases: +7,313
COVID-19-Linked Deaths: +131

Week of Feb. 1-7
Positive COVID-19 Cases: +8,271
COVID-19-Linked Deaths: +203

Week of Jan. 25-31
Positive COVID-19 Cases: +8,105
COVID-19-Linked Deaths: +68

Week of Jan.18-24
Positive COVID-19 Cases: +10,611
COVID-19-Linked Deaths: +126

Week of Jan.11-17
Positive COVID-19 Cases: +10,554
COVID-19-Linked Deaths: +140

Week of Jan.4-10
Positive COVID-19 Cases: +16,010
COVID-19-Linked Deaths: +135

Week of Dec. 28- Jan. 3
Positive COVID-19 Cases: +17,001
COVID-19-Linked Deaths: +23

Week of Dec. 21-27
Positive COVID-19 Cases: +14,347
COVID-19-Linked Deaths: +54

**NOTE: The Virginia Department of Health shifted from daily to weekly reporting on Dec. 27, 2022. As a result, weekly data is now released on Tuesdays. So our weekly stats, which had compared Friday to Friday numbers, will now reflect Tuesday to Tuesday comparisons.

Week of Dec. 17-23
Positive COVID-19 Cases: +14,950
People Hospitalized: +205
COVID-19-Linked Deaths: +57

Week of Dec. 10-16
Positive COVID-19 Cases: +12,379
People Hospitalized: +179
COVID-19-Linked Deaths: +54

Week of Dec. 3-9
Positive COVID-19 Cases: +10,147
People Hospitalized: +185
COVID-19-Linked Deaths: +81

Week of Nov. 26-Dec. 2
Positive COVID-19 Cases: +9,419
People Hospitalized: +181
COVID-19-Linked Deaths: +91

Week of Nov. 19-25
Positive COVID-19 Cases: +6,045
People Hospitalized: +149
COVID-19-Linked Deaths: +81

Week of Nov. 12-18
Positive COVID-19 Cases: +5,865
People Hospitalized: +163
COVID-19-Linked Deaths: +53

Week of Nov. 5-11
Positive COVID-19 Cases: +6,962
People Hospitalized: +122
COVID-19-Linked Deaths: +10

Week of Oct. 29-Nov. 4
Positive COVID-19 Cases: +7,324
People Hospitalized: +146
COVID-19-Linked Deaths: +33

Week of Oct. 22-28
Positive COVID-19 Cases: +7,537
People Hospitalized: +143
COVID-19-Linked Deaths: +81

Week of Oct. 15-21
Positive COVID-19 Cases: +7,142
People Hospitalized:+200
COVID-19-Linked Deaths: +76

Week of Oct. 8-14
Positive COVID-19 Cases: +7,047
People Hospitalized:+173
COVID-19-Linked Deaths: +75

Week of Oct. 1-7
Positive COVID-19 Cases: +7,174
People Hospitalized:+202
COVID-19-Linked Deaths: +91

Week of Sept. 24-30
Positive COVID-19 Cases: +8,446
People Hospitalized:+150
COVID-19-Linked Deaths: +97

Week of Sept. 17-23
Positive COVID-19 Cases: +10,080
People Hospitalized:+228
COVID-19-Linked Deaths: +90

Week of Sept. 10-16
Positive COVID-19 Cases: +11,600
People Hospitalized:+231
COVID-19-Linked Deaths: +92

Week of Sept. 3-9
Positive COVID-19 Cases: +13,195
People Hospitalized:+235
COVID-19-Linked Deaths: +124

Week of Aug. 27-Sept. 2
Positive COVID-19 Cases: +16,908
People Hospitalized:+252
COVID-19-Linked Deaths: +107

Week of Aug. 20-26
Positive COVID-19 Cases: +17,422
People Hospitalized: +280
COVID-19-Linked Deaths: +107

Week of Aug. 13-19
Positive COVID-19 Cases: +17,183
People Hospitalized: +284
COVID-19-Linked Deaths: +104

Week of Aug. 6-12
Positive COVID-19 Cases: +18,867
People Hospitalized: +310
COVID-19-Linked Deaths: +91

Week of July 30-Aug. 5
Positive COVID-19 Cases: +20,291
People Hospitalized: +296
COVID-19-Linked Deaths: +136

Week of July 23-29
Positive COVID-19 Cases: +21,350
People Hospitalized: +264
COVID-19-Linked Deaths: +51

Week of July 16-22
Positive COVID-19 Cases: +21,149
People Hospitalized: +249
COVID-19-Linked Deaths: +66

Week of July 9-15
Positive COVID-19 Cases: +21,244
People Hospitalized: +272
COVID-19-Linked Deaths: +61

Week of July 2-8
Positive COVID-19 Cases: +18,349
People Hospitalized: +237
COVID-19-Linked Deaths: +110

Week of June 25-July 1
Positive COVID-19 Cases: +19,654
People Hospitalized: +273
COVID-19-Linked Deaths: +111

Week of June 18-24
Positive COVID-19 Cases: +17,379
People Hospitalized: +195
COVID-19-Linked Deaths: +66

Week of June 11-17
Positive COVID-19 Cases: +17,777
People Hospitalized: +242
COVID-19-Linked Deaths: +12

Week of June 4-10
Positive COVID-19 Cases: +20,114
People Hospitalized: +288
COVID-19-Linked Deaths: +17

Week of May 28-June 3
Positive COVID-19 Cases: +19,887
People Hospitalized: +342
COVID-19-Linked Deaths: +48

Week of May 21-27
Positive COVID-19 Cases: +22,523
People Hospitalized: +433
COVID-19-Linked Deaths: +38

Week of May 14-20
Positive COVID-19 Cases: +22,102
People Hospitalized: +449
COVID-19-Linked Deaths: +21

Week of May 7-13
Positive COVID-19 Cases: +17,710
People Hospitalized: +444
COVID-19-Linked Deaths: +37

Week of April 24-May 6
Positive COVID-19 Cases: +14,126
People Hospitalized: +294
COVID-19-Linked Deaths: +44

Week of April 23-29
Positive COVID-19 Cases: +11,789
People Hospitalized: +272
COVID-19-Linked Deaths: +112

Week of April 16-22
Positive COVID-19 Cases: +6,296
People Hospitalized: +207
COVID-19-Linked Deaths: +102

Week of April 9-15
Positive COVID-19 Cases: +8,707
People Hospitalized: +699
COVID-19-Linked Deaths: +199

Week of April 2-8
Positive COVID-19 Cases: +5,669
People Hospitalized: +256
COVID-19-Linked Deaths: +131

Week of March 26-April 1
Positive COVID-19 Cases: +3,809
People Hospitalized: +214
COVID-19-Linked Deaths: +86

Week of March 19-25
Positive COVID-19 Cases: +5,372
People Hospitalized: +290
COVID-19-Linked Deaths: +140

Week of March 12-18
Positive COVID-19 Cases: +6,498
People Hospitalized: +508
COVID-19-Linked Deaths: +254

Week of March 5-11
Positive COVID-19 Cases: +7,421
People Hospitalized: +439
COVID-19-Linked Deaths: +257

Week of Feb. 26-March 4
Positive COVID-19 Cases: +9,281
People Hospitalized: +251
COVID-19-Linked Deaths: **+419

Week of Feb. 19-25
Positive COVID-19 Cases: +13,825
People Hospitalized: +118
COVID-19-Linked Deaths: **+520

Week of Feb. 12-18
Positive COVID-19 Cases: +19,994
People Hospitalized: *-30
COVID-19-Linked Deaths: **+534

Week of Feb. 5-11
Positive COVID-19 Cases: +30,669
People Hospitalized: *-8
COVID-19-Linked Deaths: **+779

Week of Jan. 29-Feb. 4
Positive COVID-19 Cases: +46,431
People Hospitalized: *-386
COVID-19-Linked Deaths: **+576

Week of Jan. 22-28
Positive COVID-19 Cases: +73,878
People Hospitalized: +640
COVID-19-Linked Deaths: +275

eek of Jan. 15-21
Positive COVID-19 Cases: +100,296
People Hospitalized: +1,079
COVID-19-Linked Deaths: +49

Week of Jan. 8-14
Positive COVID-19 Cases: +130,381
People Hospitalized: +1,771
COVID-19-Linked Deaths: +152

Week of Jan. 1-7
Positive COVID-19 Cases: +102,518
People Hospitalized: +2,194
COVID-19-Linked Deaths: +64

Week of Dec. 25-31
Positive COVID-19 Cases: +69,182
People Hospitalized: +1,516
COVID-19-Linked Deaths: +293

Week of Dec. 18-24
Positive COVID-19 Cases: +35,946
People Hospitalized: +383
COVID-19-Linked Deaths: +211

Week of Dec. 11-17
Positive COVID-19 Cases: +19,321
People Hospitalized: -383*
COVID-19-Linked Deaths: +188

Week of Dec. 4-10
Positive COVID-19 Cases: +17,470
People Hospitalized: +459
COVID-19-Linked Deaths: +142

Week of Nov. 27-Dec. 3
Positive COVID-19 Cases: +12,860
People Hospitalized: +316
COVID-19-Linked Deaths: +118

Week of Nov. 20-26
Positive COVID-19 Cases: +10,279
People Hospitalized: -113*
COVID-19-Linked Deaths: +143

Week of Nov. 13-19
Positive COVID-19 Cases: +10,623
People Hospitalized: +277
COVID-19-Linked Deaths: +171

Week of Nov. 6-12
Positive COVID-19 Cases: +9,295
People Hospitalized: +310
COVID-19-Linked Deaths: +196

Week of Oct. 30-Nov. 5
Positive COVID-19 Cases: +8,771
People Hospitalized: +380
COVID-19-Linked Deaths: +218

Week of Oct. 23-29
Positive COVID-19 Cases : +10,016
People Hospitalized: +448
COVID-19-Linked Deaths: +239

Week of Oct. 16-22
Positive COVID-19 Cases: +11,817
People Hospitalized: +502
COVID-19-Linked Deaths: +277

Week of Oct. 9-15
Positive COVID-19 Cases: +14,779
People Hospitalized: +503
COVID-19-Linked Deaths: +316

Week of Oct. 4-8
Positive COVID-19 Cases: +18,831
People Hospitalized: +553
COVID-19-Linked Deaths: +269

Week of Sept. 27-Oct. 1
Positive COVID-19 Cases : +19,463
People Hospitalized: +579
COVID-19-Linked Deaths: +295

Week of Sept. 20-24
Positive COVID-19 Cases: +22,668
People Hospitalized: +718
COVID-19-Linked Deaths: +269

Week of Sept. 13-17
Positive COVID-19 Cases: +25,370
People Hospitalized: +718
COVID-19-Linked Deaths: +233

Week of Sept. 6-10
Positive COVID-19 Cases: +23,660
People Hospitalized: +670
COVID-19-Linked Deaths: +137

Week of Aug. 30 – Sept. 3

Positive COVID-19 Cases: +23,515
People Hospitalized: +682
COVID-19-Linked Deaths: +130

Week of Aug. 23-27

Positive COVID-19 Cases: +20,573
People Hospitalized: +674
COVID-19-Linked Deaths: +122

Week of Aug. 16-20

Positive COVID-19 Cases: +16,253
People Hospitalized: +577
COVID-19-Linked Deaths: +48

Week of Aug. 9-13

Positive COVID-19 Case: +13,162
People Hospitalized: +465
COVID-19-Linked Deaths : +41

Week of Aug. 2-6

Positive COVID-19 Cases: +10,280
People Hospitalized: +292
COVID-19-Linked Deaths: +26

Week of July 26-30

Positive COVID-19 Casesc: +6,084
People Hospitalized: +269
COVID-19-Linked Deaths: +32

Week of July 19-23

Positive COVID-19 Cases: +3,801
People Hospitalized: +131
COVID-19-Linked Deaths: +23

Week of July 12-16

Positive COVID-19 Cases: +1,826
People Hospitalized: +145
COVID-19-Linked Deaths: +27

Week of July 5-9

Positive COVID-19 Cases: +1,601
People Hospitalized: +158
COVID-19-Linked Deaths: +23

Week of June 28-July 2

Positive COVID-19 Cases: +1,243
People Hospitalized: +268
COVID-19-Linked Deaths: +30

Week of June 21-25

Positive COVID-19 Cases: +1,180
People Hospitalized: +48
COVID-19-Linked Deaths: +46

Week of June 14-18

Positive COVID-19 Cases: +905
People Hospitalized: +148
COVID-19-Linked Deaths : +44

Week of June 7-11

Positive COVID-19 Cases: +1,003
People Hospitalized: +211
COVID-19-Linked Deaths: +71





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Virginia COVID hospitalizations down 18% last week

Virginia COVID hospitalizations down 18% last week


RICHMOND, Va. — COVID-19 hospitalizations in the Commonwealth decreased over the past week, according to data from the Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association (VHHA).

As of Friday, there were 298 hospitalized patients confirmed positive for COVID-19, which is down from 362 (64) last Friday, according to the VHHA.

VHHA’s 7-day moving average of current COVID-19 hospitalizations sat at 325 Friday. That is down 61 from 386 last Friday. That number was 433 the Friday before and 500 the previous week.

Additionally, more than 300 additional COVID-19 patients were discharged from Virginia hospitals over the past week, according to the VHHA.

The VHHA reported a total of 138,003 hospitalized COVID-19 patients have been discharged as of Friday, an increase from 137,700 (+303) patients from last Friday’s update.

The data is a look into COVID-19 recoveries in Virginia. While the data isn’t an exact recovery statistic, the discharge category shows how many COVID-19 patients were hospitalized and released.

VHHA03172023.png

VHHA

The VHHA’s online data dashboard provides up-to-date statistics daily on the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations across the Commonwealth.





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New COVID origins data point to raccoon dogs in China market

New COVID origins data point to raccoon dogs in China market



Efforts to determine COVID’s origin have been complicated by factors including the massive surge of human infections and bitter international political disputes.

LONDON, UK — Genetic material collected at a Chinese market near where the first human cases of COVID-19 were identified show raccoon dog DNA comingled with the virus, suggesting the pandemic may have originated from animals, not a lab, international experts say.

Other experts have not yet verified their analysis, which has yet to appear in a peer-reviewed journal. How the coronavirus began sickening people remains uncertain. The sequences will have to be matched to the genetic record of how the virus evolved to see which came first.

“These data do not provide a definitive answer to how the pandemic began, but every piece of data is important to moving us closer to that answer,” World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Friday.

He criticized China for not sharing the genetic information earlier, telling a press briefing that “this data could have and should have been shared three years ago.”

The samples were collected from surfaces at the Huanan seafood market in early 2020 in Wuhan, where the first human cases of COVID-19 were found in late 2019.

Tedros said the genetic sequences were recently uploaded to the world’s biggest public virus database by scientists at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

They were then removed, but not before a French biologist spotted the information by chance and shared it with a group of scientists based outside China that’s looking into the origins of the coronavirus.

The data show that some of the COVID-positive samples collected from a stall known to be involved in the wildlife trade also contained raccoon dog genes, indicating the animals may have been infected by the virus, according to the scientists. Their analysis was first reported in The Atlantic.

“There’s a good chance that the animals that deposited that DNA also deposited the virus,” said Stephen Goldstein, a virologist at the University of Utah who was involved in analyzing the data. “If you were to go and do environmental sampling in the aftermath of a zoonotic spillover event … this is basically exactly what you would expect to find.”

Ray Yip, an epidemiologist and founding member of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control office in China, said the findings are significant, even though they aren’t definitive.

“The market environmental sampling data published by China CDC is by far the strongest evidence to support animal origins,” Yip told the AP in an email. He was not connected to the new analysis.

WHO’s COVID-19 technical lead, Maria Van Kerkhove, cautioned that the analysis did not find the virus within any animal, nor did it find any hard evidence that any animals infected humans.

“What this does provide is clues to help us understand what may have happened,” she said. The international group also told WHO they found DNA from other animals as well as raccoon dogs in the samples from the seafood market, she added.

“There’s molecular evidence that animals were sold at Huanan market and that is new information,” Van Kerkhove said.

Efforts to determine the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic have been complicated by factors including the massive surge of human infections in the pandemic’s first two years and an increasingly bitter political dispute.

It took virus experts more than a dozen years to pinpoint the animal origin of SARS, a related virus.

Goldstein and his colleagues say their analysis is the first solid indication that there may have been wildlife infected with the coronavirus at the market. But it is also possible that humans brought the virus to the market and infected the raccoon dogs, or that infected humans simply happened to leave traces of the virus near the animals.

After scientists in the group contacted the China CDC, they say, the sequences were removed from the global virus database. Researchers are puzzled as to why data on the samples collected over three years ago wasn’t made public sooner. Tedros has pleaded with China to share more of its COVID-19 research data.

Gao Fu, the former head of the Chinese CDC and lead author of the Chinese paper, didn’t immediately respond to an Associated Press email requesting comment. But he told Science magazine the sequences are “nothing new. It had been known there was illegal animal dealing and this is why the market was immediately shut down.”

Goldstein said his group presented its findings this week to an advisory panel the WHO has tasked with investigating COVID-19’s origins.

Mark Woolhouse, an infectious diseases expert at the University of Edinburgh, said it will be crucial to see how the raccoon dogs’ genetic sequences match up to what’s known about the historic evolution of the COVID-19 virus. If the dogs are shown to have COVID and those viruses prove to have earlier origins than the ones that infected people, “that’s probably as good evidence as we can expect to get that this was a spillover event in the market.”

After a weeks-long visit to China to study the pandemic’s origins, WHO released a report in 2021 concluding that COVID-19 most probably jumped into humans from animals, dismissing the possibility of a lab origin as “extremely unlikely.”

But the U.N. health agency backtracked the following year, saying “key pieces of data” were still missing. And Tedros has said all hypotheses remain on the table.

The China CDC scientists who previously analyzed the Huanan market samples published a paper as a preprint in February suggesting that humans brought the virus to the market, not animals, implying that the virus originated elsewhere. Their paper didn’t mention that animal genes were found in the samples that tested positive.

Wuhan, the Chinese city where COVID-19 was first detected, is home to several labs involved in collecting and studying coronaviruses, fueling theories that the virus may have leaked from one.

In February, the Wall Street Journal reported that the U.S. Department of Energy had assessed “with low confidence” that the virus had leaked from a lab. But others in the U.S. intelligence community disagree, believing it more likely it first came from animals. Experts say the true origin of the pandemic may not be known for many years — if ever.

Cheng reported from London.



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US pregnancy deaths are down to pre-COVID levels

US pregnancy deaths are down to pre-COVID levels



“From the worst to the near worst? I wouldn’t exactly call that an accomplishment,” said one New Yorker whose partner died after childbirth in 2019.

NEW YORK — Deaths of pregnant women in the U.S. fell in 2022, dropping significantly from a six-decade high during the pandemic, new data suggests.

More than 1,200 U.S. women died in 2021 during pregnancy or shortly after childbirth, according to a final tally released Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In 2022, there were 733 maternal deaths, according to preliminary agency data, though the final number is likely to be higher.

Officials say the 2022 maternal death rate is on track to get close to pre-pandemic levels. But that’s not great: The rate before COVID-19 was the highest it had been in decades.

“From the worst to the near worst? I wouldn’t exactly call that an accomplishment,” said Omari Maynard, a New Yorker whose partner died after childbirth in 2019.

The CDC counts women who die while pregnant, during childbirth and up to 42 days after birth. Excessive bleeding, blood vessel blockages and infections are leading causes.

COVID-19 can be particularly dangerous to pregnant women, and experts believe it was the main reason for the 2021 spike. Burned out physicians may have added to the risk by ignoring pregnant women’s worries, some advocates said.

In 2021, there were about 33 maternal deaths for every 100,000 live births. The last time the government recorded a rate that high was 1964.

What happened “isn’t that hard to explain,” said Eugene Declercq, a long-time maternal mortality researcher at Boston University. “The surge was COVID-related.”

Previous government analyses concluded that one quarter of maternal deaths in 2020 and 2021 were COVID-related — meaning that the entire increase in maternal deaths was due to coronavirus infections or the pandemic’s wider impact on health care. Pregnant women infected with the coronavirus were nearly 8 times as likely to die as their uninfected peers, according to a recent study published by BMJ Global Health.

The bodies of pregnant women are already under strain, their heart forced to pump harder. Other health problems can make their condition more fragile. And then on top of that, “COVID is going to make all that much worse,” said Dr. Elizabeth Cherot, chief medical and health officer for the March of Dimes.

It didn’t help that vaccination rates among pregnant women were disappointingly low in 2021 — particularly among Black women. Part of that was related to limited vaccine availability, and that the CDC did not fully recommend shots for pregnant women until August 2021.

“Initially there was a lot of mistrust of the vaccine in Black communities,” said Samantha Griffin, who owns a doula service that mainly serves families of color in the Washington, D.C., area.

But there’s to more to it than that, she and others added. The 2021 maternal mortality rate for Black women was nearly three times higher than it was for white women. And the maternal death rate for Hispanic American women that year rose 54% compared with 2020, also surpassing the death rate for white moms.

More than a year into the pandemic, a lot of doctors and nurses were feeling burned out and they were getting less in-person time with patients.

Providers at the time “were needing to make snap decisions and maybe not listening to their patients as much,” Griffin said. “Women were saying that they thought something was wrong and they weren’t being heard.”

Maynard, who is 41 and lives in Brooklyn, said he and his partner experienced that in 2019.

Shamony Gibson, a healthy 30-year-old, was set to have their second child. The pregnancy was smooth until her contractions stopped progressing and she underwent a cesarean section.

The operation was more involved than expected but their son Khari was born in September. A few days later, Shamony began complaining of chest pains and shortness of breath, Maynard said. Doctors told her she just needed to relax and let her body rest from the pregnancy, he said.

More than a week after giving birth, her health worsened and she begged to go to the hospital. Then her heart stopped, and loved ones called for help. The initial focus for paramedics and firefighters was whether Gibson was taking illicit drugs, Maynard said, adding that she didn’t.

She was hospitalized and died the next day of a blood clot in the lungs. Her son was 13 days old.

“She wasn’t being heard at all,” said Maynard, an artist who now does speaking engagements as a maternal health advocate.



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