TDH commissioner: Peak of COVID-19 deaths may be delayed

Could be related to younger patients in hospitals
emergency hospital sign
Posted at 6:11 AM, Sep 30, 2021

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Since the start of September, 1,535 people have died in Tennessee from COVID-19. In this past week, 360 new deaths were reported.

In previous surges, deaths peaked about two or three weeks after the peak of cases. But with more younger patients in the hospitals, health experts believe we may have yet to see the peak from the most recent surge.

Health experts said there are several reasons trends on deaths during the delta spread could be different.

One being younger people are having longer lengths of stays in intensive care units as they're able to handle more aggressive treatment. This is unlike what experts saw with older patients, whose stays would typically last around two weeks.

There also have been delays in processing deaths while having to verify all documents.

As this variant is affecting the younger population, experts said that's coming with a higher unvaccinated population.

Tennessee Health Commissioner Dr. Lisa Piercey said we may or may not have seen the peak of deaths yet, but she doesn't want people to get thrown off if it comes later.

"Patients who are younger typically have longer lengths of stay in the ICU, and if they are going to pass away, it's often more delayed than with older people. And so because we have a younger population, sometimes instead of coming in 13 to 15 days, if they are going to succumb to the disease, it is oftentimes much later than that," said Piercey.

Dr. Piercey says the single most effective way to end this pandemic is to get the unvaccinated, vaccinated.

Read more: TDH: COVD cases, hospitalizations 'moving in right direction'