Over 3,000 Deaths: Analyzing the Underlying Conditions of Israelis Who Died of COVID-19

Health Ministry data shows that the most common profile of patients who died of COVID-19 is a combination of age and a chronic condition common to people over 65

Ido Efrati
Ido Efrati
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The coronavirus ward at Hafia's Rambam Medical Center.
The coronavirus ward at Hafia's Rambam Medical Center.Credit: Ohad Zwigenberg
Ido Efrati
Ido Efrati

An analysis of the Health Ministry data regarding coronavirus mortality in Israel shows that those who died of COVID-19 suffered mostly from high blood pressure, diabetes and cardiovascular problems.

The data was provided by the ministry at Haaretz’s request and is current as of Tuesday morning. It relates to 3,004 deaths from COVID-19, and includes segmentation of those who died by underlying illness, age and the city in which they lived. Since the data was provided, the death toll has risen by 10 to 3,014.

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The most common profile of those who died of COVID-19 was a combination of age and a chronic condition common to people aged 65 or older. The average age of those who died was 79, while the median age was 81.

The age group with the most deaths was 80-89, with 1,022 deaths since the pandemic began in Israel – more than a third of all deaths. That group was followed by those 70-79, with 759 deaths, and then those over 90, with 613 people dying after being infected with the coronavirus.

Credit: Haaretz

According to the Health Ministry data, 34 percent of those who died (1,019 people) had high blood pressure. In 25 percent of the deaths (750), the primary underlying illness was diabetes. Twenty-one percent (246) had a cardiovascular disease, eight percent (99 people) had a chronic lung disease, three percent reported a suppressed immune system (which could be the result of having had a transplant or being treated for cancer) and one percent (31 people) reported a chronic liver condition. In some instances, the patients suffered from more than one illness.

Credit: Haaretz

All these underlying conditions were represented in Pfizer’s clinical trials of the vaccine it developed, and from what is known, in Moderna’s trials as well. Pfizer has reported that its vaccine was highly effective among those 65 and older.

Israelis aged 80 and above – some 250,000 people – will be the first group to be vaccinated after health workers. The Health Ministry’s Elder Care Administration is preparing to vaccinate some 160,000 residents of assisted living facilities and nursing homes.

The geographic data shows that the most deaths from the coronavirus occurred in Jerusalem, with 358 deaths, twice as many as in Tel Aviv, with only 180 deaths. There were 146 deaths in Bnei Brak, followed by Bat Yam (123), Haifa (113) and Ashdod (103). The highest number of deaths, 957, was recorded in October, while in September there were 649, in August 389, and in November 311. December has seen 134 deaths as of Tuesday morning.

Credit: Haaretz