• U.S. Infant Mortality Rate ‘Disproportionately’ Higher Than 16 Other Countries

    Children and teens in the U.S. are dying at higher rates than their peers in 16 other high-income countries, according to a research letter published Monday in the journal JAMA Pediatrics. The U.S. infant mortality rate consistently exceeds those of other high-income countries.

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    By Brenda Baletti, Ph.D.

    Children and teens in the U.S. are dying at higher rates than their peers in 16 other high-income countries, according to a research letter published Monday in the journal JAMA Pediatrics.

    Researchers from Virginia Commonwealth University calculated the median mortality rates among children ages 0-19 with rates in Canada, Australia, Japan and several European countries, from 1999 to 2019.

    They compared those rates to median mortality rates among the same age groups in the U.S. to identify excess deaths — the number above and beyond those median rates — in the U.S. — and found that in the U.S., there were 413,948 excess deaths among young people during that time.

    “Each year, nearly 20,000 deaths among youths ages 0 to 19 years would not have occurred had US youths experienced the median mortality rates of 16 comparison countries,” the authors wrote. “More than half of these deaths involved infants, reflecting disproportionately high US infant mortality rates.”

    As young people in the U.S. died at higher rates, the median mortality rates in other countries dropped, widening the gap.

    “The chances of a child surviving to age 20 are now decreasing,” Dr. Steven Woolf, the study’s co-author told NBC News.

    Where data were available, researchers also examined trends through 2022. That data shows a stepwise increase in deaths among children ages 10 and up starting in 2020 and continuing through 2022.

    Beginning in 2010, youths ages 10-19 accounted for an increasing proportion of the deaths, according to the authors. Suicide rates among that age group started rising in 2007, homicides began rising in 2013 and fatal drug overdoses in 2014.

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    U.S. infant mortality rates: trends and possible causes

    Infant mortality rates in the U.S. as of 2022 are 5.6 infant deaths per 1,000 live births, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

    The rate rose 3% in 2022 — the first increase since 2001, according to a National Center for Health Statistics report. The trend represents a sharp reversal, as between 2000 and 2020, infant deaths had decreased by 21%.

    Overall, the U.S. infant death rate has consistently exceeded those of other high-income countries.

    NBC News attributed the high infant mortality rate in the U.S. in part to its relatively high rate of sudden infant death syndrome or SIDS — which it defined as “the unforeseen and unexplained death of an infant younger than 1.”

    The CDC views SIDS, along with “accidental suffocation in a sleeping environment” and “other deaths from unknown causes” as manifestations of the broader phenomenon of sudden unexpected infant death (SUID). The agency attributes three-fourths (75%) of the approximately 3,400 annual SUID deaths to SIDS and “unknown causes.”

    Dr. Paul Thomas, pediatrician and author of the forthcoming book, “Vax Facts: What to Consider Before Vaccinating at All Ages & Stages of Life,” told The Defender that those “unknown causes” are likely also SIDS and that extensive evidence links SIDS to vaccination.

    He said:

    “Nearly 20,000 infants died in the USA in 2021, for an overall infant mortality rate of 5.4 deaths per 1,000 live births. The CDC lists SIDS as the number three cause of death, following birth defects and preterm birth, with 1,389 cases.

    “But deaths that used to be classified as SIDS are often classified as suffocation or simply ‘unknown’ these days. There were 1,062 deaths attributed to unknown causes, and 905 attributed to accidental suffocation and strangulation in bed for a total of 3,356.

    “When an infant dies, no matter how soon after vaccination, coroners and pathologists do not have any codes for vaccine-related death available as options, so these deaths are generally coded as SIDS, unknown, or suffocation.”

    Thomas said pediatricians are not educated about the link so even when it clearly occurs, they don’t recognize it.

    “I was taught that SIDS was due to parents smoking in the room, the room being too hot, babies co-sleeping or sleeping on surfaces that were too soft, or moms smothering their babies while nursing,” he wrote, sharing insights from his forthcoming book. “While all these factors may plausibly contribute, the primary cause has been right under our nose for decades. The vaccines!”

    An analysis of sudden infant deaths in the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS), showed that nearly 80% of those deaths reported to the system between 1990 and 2019 happened within seven days of vaccination.

    Most recently, during the COVID-19 lockdowns, vaccination rates dropped because routine medical visits were canceled, and so did the number of deaths from SIDS.

    A recent peer-reviewed study found a positive statistical correlation between infant mortality rates (IMRs) and the number of vaccine doses received by babies — confirming findings made by the same researchers a decade ago.

    The 2018 Health Affairs study reported the bifurcation of the U.S. mortality rates from that of other wealthy countries began in the 1980s — the same time the country saw a major uptick in childhood vaccination.

    Child mortality researchers have also noted that sudden unexplained childhood deaths in children over 1 year old are often underestimated and many such child deaths remain unexplained due to failure to understand or investigate causes.

    Higher infant mortality has also been linked to poor maternal health or other perinatal issues, including premature birth.

    NBC News also suggested that part of the problem was homicide. There are on average approximately 267 infant homicides per year in the U.S.

    There are approximately 3.66 million live births annually in the U.S.

    Adolescent deaths — unexplained increase in 2020-2022

    The authors speculated that “easier access to firearms and opioids likely contributed” to the rise they reported in adolescent deaths during the study period. NBC News also noted that car accidents are a major cause of death among children.

    According to the CDC, the leading causes of death among teens ages 15-19 are accidents, followed by homicides and suicides.

    Woolf also told NBC News he thought the issue was the high rates of gun ownership, “unimaginable” in other countries, and the regulatory failures driving the opioid epidemic.

    Pediatric deaths from fentanyl increased more than 30-fold between 2013 and 2021, according to a study published last year, mirroring trends seen among adults.

    Woolf also told the outlet that suicide, drug use and gun homicides escalated during the pandemic.

    “COVID-19 poured fuel on the fire,” he said, “and really put the U.S. far behind other countries in terms of life expectancy and mortality rates.”

    These statements echoed the conclusions of research he published last year in JAMA, reporting that the mortality rate for U.S. children and teens surged to the highest levels in decades between 2019 and 2021.

    In that 2023 paper, Woolf and his colleagues reported that all-cause mortality increased 10.7% for people ages 1-19 between 2019 and 2020 and an additional 8.3% between 2020 and 2021.

    The researchers attributed the excess deaths to injuries — including incidents involving firearms, drugs and car accidents — not COVID-19.

    “Bullets, drugs, and automobiles are now causing a youth death toll sufficient to elevate all-cause mortality rates,” they said in the paper.

    Denis Rancourt, Ph.D., an all-cause mortality researcher, told The Defender at the time that the 2023 JAMA article “spins” the research findings to make it seem as if the spike in all-cause mortality for children is part of a larger trend linked to broad societal dynamics affecting youth, rather than to the draconian lockdown policies that disproportionately affected the poor and vulnerable across U.S. society.

    “The piece is what I would call spin, right up there with the best spin that a politician could make, but it’s by three M.D. scientists,” Rancourt said.

    He said the article did not try to analyze the fact that there was a large, stepwise increase in mortality rates in 2020 and 2021.

    The study authors did not explain that the increase happened alongside a much greater rise in all-cause mortality among other age groups. They did not address the fact that the vaccine rollout occurred halfway through the study period and had no positive impact on all-cause mortality and they did not discuss the links to poverty.

    Woolf’s new research letter in JAMA Pediatrics also showed that same stepwise increase in mortality rates in 2020 through 2022, but again provided no accounting for it.

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    If we didn't have so many ignorant and drug addled citizens the infant mortality would have been much lower.

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