The pandemic was associated with conditions that likely contributed to risk-associated increased heart disease and stroke mortality.

Deaths from heart disease and stroke increased during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic because of factors other than an aging population. This reversed previous trends and widened racial disparities.

“We had been making progress in reducing deaths from heart disease and stroke, primarily due to preventive measures and timely interventions,” said Dr. Stephen Sidney, director of research clinics and senior research scientist for the Kaiser Permanente Northern California Division of Research. “Our study showed the pandemic didn’t just stop these gains; it reversed them, with Black, Latino and Asian adults hit hardest. This tells us we are not doing enough nationwide to make health care equally accessible to all and to optimize the preventive measures we know can improve cardiovascular health.”

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