A new study from researchers at Columbia and Cornell universities estimates that at least 11,800 of Florida’s 16,789 COVID-19 resident deaths could have been avoided.
A new study expansion highlights the avoidable death toll in 16 key states across the U.S., including Florida. Of the 16 states, faulty government response led to at least 56,000 avoidable COVID-19 deaths.
“It is sobering to remember that last year, before COVID-19 hit, the U.S. was ranked first in the world in an independent assessment of pandemic preparedness,” said Dr. Nathaniel Hupert, of the Cornell Institute for Disease and Disaster Preparedness, in a news release. “Our national experience with this disease will for years to come be Exhibit A in demonstrating the critical impact of leadership and respect for science, or lack of it, in public health crisis response.”
The first portion of the study, originally released Oct. 22, detailed the national avoidable death toll of the virus — the U.S. could have avoided between 130,000 and 210,000 of the country’s 229,109 COVID-19 deaths.
The research estimates these deaths could have been avoided if the Trump Administration had quickly and effectively implemented a cohesive public health response to the coronavirus. The report goes into detail by comparing the U.S. death toll and policy response to six similarly high-income countries: South Korea, Japan, Germany, Australia, France and Canada.
It found these deaths could have been avoided by procedures implemented in the other countries, such as building sufficient testing capabilities, enacting earlier lockdowns, issuing a national mask-wearing mandate and providing federal guidance on social distancing,
“The U.S. death toll stands apart from nearly all high-income nations,” said Irwin Redlener, principal author of the report at Columbia University, in a news release. “The data establishes that a significant number of lives could have been saved if the Trump administration acted on the advice from the scientific and public health community.”
The report concludes there is a disproportionately high COVID-19 death rate in the U.S. compared to the other countries, even when examining median population age and obesity — two well-documented factors that affect COVID-19 mortality rates.
The research also notes emerging data on long-term health impacts of COVID-19 infections, increasing statistics on children left without parents and bereavement rates among families of the deceased.
The report incorporates data through Oct. 16, when the U.S. death toll was 217,717, and more than 8 million COVID-19 cases were confirmed in the U.S. The researchers calculated the total death count in each country as a percentage of its population, which was multiplied by the total U.S. population to determine the proportional number of deaths that each nation would have encountered if its population were the same size as the U.S.