It took a lawsuit, countless trips to the county archives, months of reporting and analysis — and now the information is accessible to the public.
Voice of San Diego logged every Covid-19 death certificate during the first two years of the pandemic. Voice is now making that information available broken up by year and in one single, online database.
The database contains information never before released by San Diego County, including education level, occupation, race and birthplace. Reporters also combined the database with San Diego’s voter roll. In cases where reporters were able to match a death record to a voter record, the database also shows the political party affiliation of those who died.
We removed any identifying information, including name, birthdate and address to protect families’ privacy.
Voice reporters Will Huntsberry and Jesse Marx wrapped up a series of stories last week on where Covid-19 did the most damage after vaccines became widely available.
Their reporting showed that, even though the virus killed fewer people in year two of the pandemic, it wiped out a larger proportion of younger people over time. Class remained a powerful predictor of one’s likelihood to die, and the death rate rose in several communities on the eastern edge of the metro while going down virtually everywhere else. Republicans and independents died at a higher rate than Democrats.
You can find those stories on our Year Two page along with a few reflections on our findings and an explanation of how we learned a new programming language. It nearly brought Huntsberry to tears.
We’ve also uploaded a portion of our spreadsheet containing the first name and some demographic information about the people who died in San Diego County between March 2021 and March 2022 with Covid listed anywhere on the death certificate. It also includes immediate causes and significant conditions that contributed to death.
A similar database that informed our Year One coverage, along with several stories, can also be found here.
If you’re an academic researcher and want a complete copy of either dataset, email Huntsberry and Marx. We’ll consider sharing it with you if you agree to not publish any information that might identify those who died.