International Journal of Prisoner Health | VOL. ahead-of-print
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Age and COVID-19 mortality in the United States: a comparison of the prison and general population

Publication Date Jun 23, 2022

Abstract

Purpose The USA has a rapidly aging prison population that, combined with their poorer health and living conditions, is at extreme risk for COVID-19. The purpose of this paper is to compare COVID-19 mortality trends in the US prison population and the general population to see how mortality risk changed over the course of the pandemic. The authors first provide a national overview of trends in COVID-19 mortality; then, the authors assess COVID-19 deaths among older populations using more detailed data from one US state. Design/methodology/approach The authors used multiple publicly available data sets (e.g. Centers for Disease Control and prevention, COVID Prison Project) and indirect and direct standardization to estimate standardized mortality rates covering the period from April 2020 to June 2021 for the US and for the State of Texas. Findings While 921 COVID-19-related deaths among people in US prisons were expected as of June 5, 2021, 2,664 were observed, corresponding to a standardized mortality ratio of 2.89 (95%CI 2.78, 3.00). The observed number of COVID-19-related deaths exceeded the expected number of COVID-19-related deaths among people in prison for most of the pandemic, with a substantially widening gap leading to a plateau about four weeks after the COVID-19 vaccine was introduced in the USA. In the state population, the older population in prison is dying at younger ages compared with the general population, with the highest percentage of deaths among people aged 50–64 years. Research limitations/impli...

Concepts

Prison Population COVID-19 Mortality US Prisons Highest Percentage Of Deaths Older Population People In Prison General Population Trends In Mortality Centers For Disease Control COVID-19 Death

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