Increase in Deaths During Pandemic

It has been a widespread fact that throughout the COVID pandemic older Americans were the most negatively affected and exposed to the greatest loss of life than the younger population. And, retirees and survivors of the State Retirement System were no exception to this pandemic outcome.

After our review of the State Retirement Board’s Annual Reports for the pre-COVID years pandemic (FY2018-2019) as well as those made throughout the COVID pandemic years (FY2020-2022) and the first post-COVID pandemic year (FY2023), there is a direct correlation to a similar impact on the State Retiree population. It must be noted that these years are documented on a Fiscal Year basis in the Reports. and we reviewed the two fiscal years, FYs 2018-2019, as preCOVID (July 1, 2017- June 30, 2019) along with the ensuing three fiscal years, FYs 2020-2022, when beginning in early 2020, the pandemic raged and ultimately changed life for us all.

Officially COVID’s onset was in the middle of fiscal year 2020 (June 30, 2019- July 1, 2020). Given that Annual Report data is only on a fiscal year basis, we are considering FY20 as a COVID pandemic period, especially since the beginning of the COVID virus was so prevalent for the first 6 months of 2020. After examining the data that is outlined in the Chart here. President Valeri, who is an elected member of the State Retirement Board, concluded, “In summary the State Retirement System reported an average death total of 1,931 for the two pre-COVID years (FYs18-FY19 ) and an average of 2,122 deaths for the COVID fiscal years (FYs 20-22).

“That’s almost a 10% increase in deaths during the COVID years. Also importantly, the data shows that the implementation of various public safety protocols, the rise in more and more employees working remotely and the development of vaccines and antibiotics, among key factors, have stabilized the terrible effects of COVID 19. In fact the FY23 numbers show that the number in deaths appears to be trending downwards.”

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