What’s Causing Virginia’s Excess Deaths? Whatever It Is, It’s Not Just COVID

Virginia has high vaccination rates, and deaths from COVID-19 are a small fraction of what they were at the height of the pandemic. Yet “excess” deaths in Virginia — the number that would be predicted based upon projections from pre-COVID years — are running 13.4% higher than expected this year.

According to Centers for Disease Control data, excess mortality shot higher during the first year of the pandemic, ran even higher in the second year, and continues without let-up in the third year. Is there a common thread underlying this threat to the public health? Could the increase in non-COVID deaths be tied to how American society responded to the pandemic?

In a newly released video Delegate Karen Greenhalgh, R-Virginia Beach, who sits on the Joint Commission on Health Care, says she wants to understand these numbers better.

Non-COVID deaths have surged from causes relating to ischemic heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, diabetes, heart failure, malignant neoplasms, and cerebrovascular diseases, Greenhalgh notes. 


Greenhalgh wants to know who is getting sick, why they’re getting sick, and if there is something that can be done about it. She’s asking good questions and, it is reassuring to see, she does not appear to have prejudged the answers.