The sum total of the cases of the COVID-19 coronavirus diagnosed in Alaska in the last 123 days is 1,063 as of Friday’s tally.
And while the media focus is on the total number of infected and the 15 Alaska deaths associated with the virus, there are other deaths to consider around the state since January. Checking with the Alaska Bureau of Vital Statistics, it appears the overall death rate is about the same as usual.
Through May, homicide deaths in Alaska were down 39 percent, from an average of 28 over the past four years to just 17 this year in the first five months.
On the other hand, heart disease deaths went up by 4 percent this year compared to the four-year average. Doctors consulted by MRAK say that this is likely because the government shutdown discouraged people from going to the doctor when they needed to. 13 more people have died of heart disease this year than the average over the past four years.
On the other hand, Alaska has seen an inexplicable 7 percent fewer cancer deaths this year so far compared to the last four-year average for the same five-month period.
For flu and pneumonia, there has been a 23 percent decrease in deaths, likely due to people washing their hands, working from home, and not socializing.
Motor vehicle accident deaths are down dramatically, from 35 to 23, a reduction in road deaths by more than one third, year over year. People spent a lot less time on the road since the coronavirus hit.
According to the Bureau of Vital Statistics, death by all causes this year through May show a net of three deaths over the average, or a .15 percent increase — statistically insignificant.