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Pandemic’s Toll: UAMS Study Says 1 in 4 Lost Friend or Family Member

2 min read

A new study by UAMS found that one in four U.S. adults has experienced the death of a family member or close friend due to COVID-19.

The study analyzed the responses of participants who self-reported the death of a loved one due to COVID-19. Other studies show that those who experienced loss due to COVID-19 have also suffered prolonged or complicated grief, and that those grieving the loss of a close relative or friend experience increased chances of physical health issues and higher rates of disability, medication use, hospitalization and depressive symptoms.

UAMS researchers also found that minority populations — particularly Black individuals — experienced greater risk of death due to COVID-19, as did people 60 or older, married couples or people who had forgone treatment due to health care costs.

More: Click here to read the full study.

“People who have suffered loss during the pandemic may still be suffering,” Don Willis, assistant professor in the UAMS Office of Community Health & Research, said in a news release. “The impact of the pandemic does not end at the point of death, but ripples out across social networks.

“Even if the last COVID-19 death were to occur tomorrow, the staggering loss of life from the pandemic will likely be impacting the lives and health of the bereaved for many years to come.”

More than 1 million deaths in the U.S. have been linked to COVID-19, according to the World Health Organization.

Nearly 12,700 Arkansans have died from the virus, according to the Arkansas Department of Health. More than 70% of Arkansans who died from COVID-19 since February 2021 were not fully vaccinated.

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