Cardiac Arrest Deaths Surge During Coronavirus Pandemic

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NEW YORK, NY – The New York Fire Department has reported three times the number of deaths from cardiac arrest during the Coronavirus pandemic. Experts believe these deaths were either directly or indirectly caused by COVID-19.

According to ABC News, emergency medical services in New York City responded to almost 4,000 cardiac arrests from March 1 to April 25. An estimated 3,600 people died from cardiac arrest during this two-month period.  This staggering number is three times higher than the number of cardiac arrest deaths during the same time frame in 2019.

The Cheif Medical Officer with the FDNY, Dr. David Prezant, explained that these deaths are likely the result of COVID-19. Prezant based his statement on a report from JAMA Cardiology that compared cardiac arrest data from 2019 and 2020.

This report showed cardiac arrests have had a 90% mortality rate during the pandemic, compared to a 75% mortality rate in 2019. Additionally, cardiac arrest patients in 2020 are more likely to be people of color and have underlying conditions, both of which are factors associated with higher rates of COVID-19.

Despite the evidence demonstrating the link between cardiac arrest deaths and COVID-19, these 3,600 deaths will not be added to New York City’s Coronavirus death toll, which currently stands at over 22,000.

In the early days of the pandemic, the Centers for Disease Control warned cities that statistics about the number of deaths from COVID-19 would significantly underestimate the true toll of the virus. The FDNY believes that the sharp increase in cardiac arrest deaths serves to demonstrate the significant number of coronavirus-related deaths that will not be reported as a part of the official COVID-19 count.