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Despite initial widespread fears over COVID-19, Alaska deaths between the months of January and April are actually lower in 2020 than the average over the past three years over the same time span. These findings are contained in a new report from the state’s Division of Public Health.

Death Stats

The study looked at “excess death” counts and rates. These were estimated for total deaths and selected underlying causes of death that may be related to COVID-19.

The expected death counts and rates for 2020 were calculated by looking at numbers from the last three years – 2017 to 2019. These numbers were then subtracted from the actual 2020 data to see if there were more deaths this year than in past years.

Based on the last three years, the expected total deaths for 2020 were 1,515, but the actual deaths were just 1,500.

“The main finding was that compared to average deaths from Jan to Apr in 2017 – 2019, all-cause mortality counts and rates appeared slightly lower in 2020,” the report says. The state plans to update this data monthly.


  • During January through April of 2020, there were 4.3 less cancer deaths per 100,000 persons compared to the previous three years.
  • There have been no increases in 2020 deaths for influenza/pneumonia, lower chronic respiratory diseases, heart disease, suicide, homicide, and unintentional injuries. Death rates for these causes are within the range of deaths that have been observed for the previous three years.

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Overall Alaska deaths lower in 2020 despite COVID

Joel Davidson
Joel is Editor-in-Chief of the Alaska Watchman. Joel is an award winning journalist and has been reporting for over 24 years, He is a proud father of 8 children, and lives in Palmer, Alaska.