During August-September, when respiratory deaths wane, COVID-19 has killed 3x a normal year

In normal years, respiratory illnesses will kill 10 people in August and September, but COVID-19 is proving far more lethal.

With 38 COVID-19-related deaths in August and September, we wanted to go back and look at the commonality of respiratory-related deaths in Kerr County in those two months.

What did we find? When it comes to respiratory-related deaths — 2021 has been like no other in Kerr County's recent history. Since 1999, Kerr County has averaged about 10 deaths in August and September from respiratory-related illnesses. The small numbers make it hard to pin down exact causes of death due to privacy restrictions enacted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

During that period, 1,559 Kerr County residents died from respiratory illnesses — 10.9% of all deaths in those 20 years. The two biggest categories are cancer and heart-related diseases. In that period, more than half of all deaths were from these two areas. Cancer claimed the lives of 3,219 people, while circulatory diseases killed another 4,460.


However, when it comes to respiratory illnesses, fatalities in those summer months accounted for 13.5 percent of all respiratory deaths in 20 years.

In September of 2019, 65 people died in Kerr County — more than half from cancer and heart diseases. Less than 10% were from respiratory ailments. If the trends hold steady, COVID-19 will likely be the No. 1 or No. 2 cause of death among Kerr County residents in September.

And as a reminder, in those 20 years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, influenza killed 23 people in Kerr County. In 2021, COVID-19 will have killed approximately 97 people in 10 months.

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