COVID-19 Death Exposure among Adults in the United States

Omega (Westport). 2022 Aug 4:302228221116523. doi: 10.1177/00302228221116523. Online ahead of print.


As of May 17, 2022, more than a million deaths due to COVID-19 have been recorded in the US. For each COVID-19 death, there are an estimated nine bereaved family members and an unknown number of bereaved friends. This study aimed to assess the correlates of self-reported COVID-19 death exposure (i.e., loss of a close friend or family member) among US adults using online survey data (n = 1,869) collected between September 17, 2021 and October 3, 2021. One in four US adults in this national sample reported the loss of a close friend or family member due to COVID-19. The odds of losing a close friend or family member due to COVID-19 death were greater for those age 60 or older, all minoritized racial/ethnic groups except for Asian American respondents, married/coupled respondents, those who had foregone care due to cost in the past year, and those who reported a COVID-19 infection.

Keywords: COVID-19; bereavement; death exposure; health disparities.