Total deaths in Arizona rose 25% in 2020 over the previous year, with some counties seeing increases approaching 50% for the year in which Covid-19 became the leading killer in the state.
While data on the causes of death is not expected until later this year, experts attribute the “exceptional increase” in deaths to the Covid-19 as well as to fatalities that may be indirectly caused by the pandemic.
“Covid appears to be the reason,” said David Sklar, a professor at Arizona State University’s College of Health Solutions. “Other problems have also increased, such as opioid-related deaths, and some have decreased, such as pedestrian-related deaths because people were driving less and were out less. But Covid has been a large contributor to our increase.”
The Arizona Department of Health Services reported this month that there were 75,133 deaths in the state in 2020, an increase of 24.9% from the 60,161 deaths reported in 2019.