Background: While there is ample evidence of increased COVID-19 mortality risk among people with intellectual and developmental disability (IDD), research has not documented whether this higher risk resulted in increased COVID-19 mortality burden in the US or whether comorbidity patterns among COVID-19 deaths are similar or distinct for people with IDD. Objective: To determine the differences in COVID-19 mortality burden between decedents with and without IDD during the first year of the pandemic. Methods: This study uses 2020 US death certificate data to compare COVID-19 mortality burden and comorbidity patterns among decedents with and without IDD. Results: COVID-19 was the leading cause of death among decedents with IDD in 2020, compared with the 3rd leading cause among decedents without IDD. The proportion of deaths from COVID-19 was also higher for decedents with compared to without IDD. Comorbidities resulting from COVID-19 were similar among decedents with and without IDD, but there were some differences among reported pre-existing conditions, notably higher rates of hypothyroidism and seizures among decedents with IDD. Conclusion: The COVID-19 mortality burden was greater for people with than without IDD during the first year of the pandemic. The continued practice of postmortem diagnostic overshadowing prevents analyzing whether this difference continues through today. Action is needed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to mitigate this data inequity. Out of an abundance of caution, medical providers should carefully monitor symptoms among COVID-19 patients with IDD diagnosed with hypothyroidism and/or seizures.
- Cause of death
- Death certificates
- Mortality burden
- Postmortem diagnostic overshadowing
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health