City COVID-19 death rate declines sharply

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City COVID-19 death rate declines sharply
An illustration of the COVID-19 virus. (Image/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
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By Denise Dunbar | [email protected]

The death rate per case of COVID-19 in Alexandria has declined by 35% on new cases since May 28, according to calculations made to data from the Virginia Department of Health website.

In the two months between May 28 and July 28, only 13 new deaths from COVID-19 were reported in Alexandria, while there were 862 new diagnosed cases in that timeframe, a 1.5% death rate per case. As of May 28, there had been 1,887 cumulative cases of COVID-19 diagnosed in Alexandria and 44 deaths, which was a 2.3% death rate.

Percentage of cumulative cases as of July 28 for the three largest groups in Alexandria for which there is an ethnicity designation.

This story looks at aspects of three data sets: cumulative COVID-19 demographic data for Alexandria and Virginia as of May 28, cumulative COVID-19 demographic data for Alexandria and Virginia as of July 28 and COVID-19 demographic data for Alexandria since May 28.

While the city’s overall death rate per case fell sharply in the last two months, this was not true for people age 70 and older. Alexandria residents age 70 and older experienced a slight uptick in their death rate per COVID-19 case. As of May 28, the death rate per case was 14.8% for people age 70-79 and 25.7% for those age 80 and older. By July 28, those cumulative percentages had climbed to 16.8% for age 70-79 and 26.3% for age 80 and older.

Between May 28 and July 28, there were 40 new reported cases of COVID-19 for people age 70 and older in Alexandria, according to data on the VDH website on those dates, and 11 reported new deaths in that age group, a 28% death rate per case.

In every other Alexandria age group, the death rate per COVID-19 case either fell or remained the same in the July 28 cumulative data from that reported on May 28. Statewide, the death rate per case fell or remained the same in every age group between May 28 and July 28.

Hospitalization rate per cumulative case as of July 28 by ethnicity for the three largest ethnic groups in Alexandria for which there is an ethnicity designation.

Alexandria’s overall death rate per case is lower than the statewide average: 2% in the city compared to 2.4% in the commonwealth, which is 17% lower than the statewide death rate per case. This is likely due to the fact that a higher percentage of statewide cumulative cases as of July 28 fall in the age 50 and older age group than in Alexandria.

Overall comparisons of racial and ethnic data between May 28 and July 28 is difficult, because VDH changed the way it classified race and ethnicity on the COVID-19 website during that time. However, comparable data is available for Latinos, and it reveals that both the hospitalization and death rates per case fell for that ethnic group.

On May 28, there had been 79 hospitalizations out of 856 cumulative Latino cases of COVID-19, a hospitalization rate per case of 9.2%. By July 28, the hospitalization rate had fallen to 8.5%, with 124 hospitalizations out of 1,452 cumulative cases.

The Latino death rate per case fell from .7% on May 28, with six deaths out of 856 cases, to .6% on July 28, with nine deaths out of 1,452 cumulative cases.

The three largest ethnic groups in the city – Blacks, Latinos and whites – respectively had the highest percentage of hospitalizations per case, highest percentage of overall cases and highest death rate per case in the July 28 cumulative VDH data.

Blacks had experienced 71 hospitalizations out of 469 total cases on July 28, for a hospitalization rate per case of 15%. Whites had the second highest cumulative hospitalization rate per case at 10%. The cumulative Latino hospitalization rate per case was 9%.

Death rate per cumulative case as of July 28 by ethnicity for the three largest ethnic groups in Alexandria for which there is an ethnicity designation.

Latinos had by far the largest percentage of total COVID-19 cases in Alexandria for which there was an ethnic designation on July 28, at 56%. Whites were second, with 20% of total COVID cases in the city, while Blacks had 18% of the city’s total COVID-19 cases.

Whites had a death rate per case that was more than 10 times higher than that of Latinos, 6.5% compared to .6%. There had been 33 deaths of whites out of 510 total cases, while there were nine Latino deaths out of 1,452 cases. The death rate for Blacks was 2.6%, with 12 deaths out of 469 total cases.

Fully 58% of Alexandria deaths from COVID through July 28 had been of white residents – 33 out of 57 deaths.

Alexandria’s COVID-19 gender data mostly mirrored the state as a whole. Women have comprised more of the cases, while men more of the hospitalizations, at both the city and state levels. There have been more deaths of women from COVID-19 in Alexandria as of July 28, with 30, than men, at 27. Statewide, slightly more men than women have died of COVID-19: 1,057 men have died compared to 1,035 women.

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