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The average age of death from the coronavirus is 80, the U.S. surgeon general said earlier this month.

Dr. Jerome Adams apparently was referring to the global average.

The latest statistics here in Georgia, though, show the average age of death from COVID-19 is 68.

Though there are exceptions, deaths and serious illnesses from the virus typically occur among the elderly and people with serious underlying medical conditions. People in both categories are obviously at major risk.

Among the 80 Georgians who had died of the disease as of noon Sunday, 55 had underlying health conditions, state health officials reported. For 22 others who died, it’s not known whether they had such conditions. Only three who died were reported to have had no such health conditions.

The youngest Georgian to die of COVID-19 was a 29-year-old Peach County woman. The oldest was a 95-year-old Baker County man.

It’s too early to draw conclusions from current data on Georgia’s death figures, said Dr. Harry Heiman of the School of Public Health at Georgia State University. A cluster of nursing home deaths in Georgia could push the state’s average age of fatalities higher, Heiman said Sunday.

But Georgia and other Southeastern states have disproportionately higher rates of diabetes, and heart and lung disease, Heiman noted. “We have a sicker population,’’ he said. “Our population is at higher risk.’’

When more data arrive, Heiman added, “I wouldn’t be surprised if the average age [of death] isn’t younger in Georgia’’ than in some other states.

Georgia has consistently rated low among states in measures of health status. Its percentage of uninsured people is among the highest in the nation, and many residents lack access to health care.

The CDC said that although millennials are not immune to coronavirus illness, the most severe cases, and the highest rates of death, are among the elderly. Although 17 percent of the U.S. population is 65 or older, 31 percent of U.S. cases have been in that age group, CDC experts concluded in a March report.

Founded in July 2010 as a Georgia nonprofit, Georgia Health News is an independent news organization devoted to covering health care in the state. Read more at

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