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Faust JS, Du C, Mayes KD, et al. Mortality From Drug Overdoses, Homicides, Unintentional Injuries, Motor Vehicle Crashes, and Suicides During the Pandemic, March-August 2020. JAMA. Published online May 21, 2021. doi:10.1001/jama.2021.8012
The initial COVID-19 outbreak in the US caused disruptions in usual behavioral patterns.1-3 To assess associated changes in external causes of death, we analyzed monthly trends from 2015 to 2020 in deaths resulting from drug overdoses, homicide, unintentional injuries, motor vehicle crashes, and suicide in the first 6 months of the pandemic.
We measured monthly excess mortality (the gap between observed and expected deaths) from 5 external causes using provisional national-level underlying cause death certificate data published by the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) through August 2020 (released March 2021). Data from March to August 2020 were aggregated by the NCHS into 5 groups: drug overdose (all intents), assault (homicide), unintentional injuries, motor vehicle crashes, and intentional self-harm (suicide) (see the Supplement for ICD-10 codes).4,5
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