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Coronavirus has led to an increase in Alzheimer’s deaths

At least 15,000 more Americans have died in recent months from Alzheimer’s disease and dementia than they otherwise would have, health officials say, indicating that the coronavirus pandemic has required a higher death toll than official numbers show. .


While Covid-19 devastated American seniors this spring, often by rushing through nursing homes, fatal outbreaks have compounded the devastation of Alzheimer’s and other forms of degenerative brain disorders that are common among seniors living in care facilities. long term.

About 1

00,000 people died of Alzheimer’s and dementia from February to May, according to estimates by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Although not all extra deaths were caused directly by coronavirus, the death rate has been 18% above the average for these disorders in recent years.

The death toll started to rise sharply in mid-March, and in mid-April about 250 more people with some form of dementia were dying every day, according to CDC estimates.

Some of the deaths were probably caused by Covid-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, but were not counted as such on death certificates, according to the CDC. Health experts believe that the lack of available tests, particularly at the beginning of the pandemic, helped underestimate the deaths attributed to Covid-19.

But some of the additional deaths this year likely represent collateral damage, according to Robert Anderson, head of the mortality statistics branch at the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics. People with advanced Alzheimer’s and dementia are often in fragile health conditions, dependent on constant routines and care taken by family members and other caregivers but vulnerable to interruptions.

“It’s a fall and it starts everything. It’s a day without liquids, it dehydrates and unleashes a chain of events,” said Nicole Fowler, associate director of the Center for Aging Research at the University of Indiana. “It’s amazing how little it really takes to upset their environment.”

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