Reporting by Will Huntsberry, Jesse Marx, Bella RossMaya Srikrishnan and Jared Whitlock

Visuals by Adriana Heldiz and Megan Wood

In a new analysis of local death certificates, Voice of San Diego examined each COVID-related death during the first year of the pandemic. The analysis provides new insights about a person’s education, occupation and race – information never before released by San Diego County.

COVID-19 took its first life on March 22, 2020, according to the death certificates – a 76-year old business owner, born in Mexico, who lived in the South Bay. Over the next year, 4,045 more people died related to the novel coronavirus.

The database will allow us to better understand who in San Diego bore the worst effects of the pandemic, from those who didn’t have a high school diploma to people who lived in multi-generational housing.

The median age of those who died, for instance, was 76. But more than 1,000 people who died were 65 or younger.

A comparison of death rates and median household income shows a significant correlation. For every $6,600 increase in income, the risk of death in San Diego County went down by 10 percent.

In the vast majority of deaths analyzed by Voice of San Diego, COVID-19 was listed as a primary cause. But in 7 percent of deaths, it was listed as a contributing cause. In the cases where COVID was listed as a primary killer, many people suffered from chronic conditions like diabetes, hypertension and heart disease.

Sponsor recognition

This reporting project is made possible with support from the Fund for Investigative Journalism.

The Stories

The Database

Open the COVID-19 deaths database in a new tab.

The People: by Occupation, Education and Age

Open COVID-19 occupation, education and age data in a new tab.

The People: by Income

Made with Flourish

Open COVID-19 San Diego County map in a new tab.

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