COVID DATA DIVE: Was 2020 more deadly than previous years?
Comprehensive data on deaths and death rates typically takes a while to compile.
Now, however, much of the smoke has cleared and information about COVID-19 and its impact on mortality is becoming clearer. Here in Milledgeville-Baldwin County, a total of 576 deaths were recorded in 2020, according to the Georgia Department of Health's database. This compares to 469 in 2019. In other words, local deaths increased 22.8 percent between 2019 and 2020.
Meanwhile, the five-year local death average prior to 2020 was 470 – 469, in 2019, 487 in 2018, 499 in 2017, 463 in 2016 and 435 in 2015. In terms of the previous five-year average, there were 22.5 percent more deaths in Milledgeville-Baldwin County in 2020.
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The trend was repeated in every neighboring county:
- Hancock (189 deaths in 2020 and 113 deaths in 2019) – increase of 67.2 percent
- Jones (352 deaths in 2020 and 309 deaths in 2019) – increase of 13.9 percent
- Putnam (299 deaths in 2020 and 258 deaths in 2019) – increase of 15 percent
- Washington (329 deaths in 2020 and 253 deaths in 2019) – increase of 30 percent
- Wilkinson (142 deaths in 2020 and 115 deaths in 2019) – increase of 23.5 percent
In terms of the 13-county North Central Health District, which includes Baldwin, the DPH's database shows 6,796 recorded deaths in 2020 and 5,511 in 2019, an increase of 23.3 percent year-over-year.
Statewide, meanwhile, 85,641 deaths were recorded in 2019 and 103,114 in 2020, a 20.4 percent increase.
For the record, the DPH defines the county of death as "the place of residence (not occurrence)."