Race, Ethnicity, and Age Trends in Persons Who Died from COVID-19 - United States, May-August 2020

MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2020 Oct 23;69(42):1517-1521. doi: 10.15585/mmwr.mm6942e1.


During February 12-October 15, 2020, the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic resulted in approximately 7,900,000 aggregated reported cases and approximately 216,000 deaths in the United States.* Among COVID-19-associated deaths reported to national case surveillance during February 12-May 18, persons aged ≥65 years and members of racial and ethnic minority groups were disproportionately represented (1). This report describes demographic and geographic trends in COVID-19-associated deaths reported to the National Vital Statistics System (NVSS) during May 1-August 31, 2020, by 50 states and the District of Columbia. During this period, 114,411 COVID-19-associated deaths were reported. Overall, 78.2% of decedents were aged ≥65 years, and 53.3% were male; 51.3% were non-Hispanic White (White), 24.2% were Hispanic or Latino (Hispanic), and 18.7% were non-Hispanic Black (Black). The number of COVID-19-associated deaths decreased from 37,940 in May to 17,718 in June; subsequently, counts increased to 30,401 in July and declined to 28,352 in August. From May to August, the percentage distribution of COVID-19-associated deaths by U.S. Census region increased from 23.4% to 62.7% in the South and from 10.6% to 21.4% in the West. Over the same period, the percentage distribution of decedents who were Hispanic increased from 16.3% to 26.4%. COVID-19 remains a major public health threat regardless of age or race and ethnicity. Deaths continued to occur disproportionately among older persons and certain racial and ethnic minorities, particularly among Hispanic persons. These results can inform public health messaging and mitigation efforts focused on prevention and early detection of infection among disproportionately affected groups.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • COVID-19
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Coronavirus Infections / ethnology*
  • Coronavirus Infections / mortality*
  • Ethnicity / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Health Status Disparities*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Minority Groups / statistics & numerical data*
  • Pandemics*
  • Pneumonia, Viral / ethnology*
  • Pneumonia, Viral / mortality*
  • Racial Groups / statistics & numerical data*
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Vital Statistics
  • Young Adult