Nearly 12,000 more deaths happened than expected among U.S. adults aged between 25 and 44 during March-July period, owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association on December 16.

Using data from the past five years, the researchers calculated projected monthly expected deaths to determine the gap between observed and expected deaths. They also observed all-cause mortality and COVID-19 mortality from March 1 to July 31, 2020, and compared COVID-19 deaths with the unintentional opioid overdose death counts for the corresponding period in 2018 for each HHS region.

The research found that the pandemic “was associated with increases in all-cause mortality among U.S. adults aged 25 to 44 years from March through July of 2020.”

It showed that a total of 76,088 all-cause deaths occurred among U.S. adults aged 25 to 44 years from March 1 to July 31.

The number is 11,899 more than the expected 64,189 deaths, with 4,535 deaths caused by COVID-19, accounting for 38 percent of the measured excess deaths.

“Nationally, excess mortality occurred in every month of the study period and overall in every HHS region,” read the research. In three HHS regions, “COVID-19 deaths were similar to or exceeded unintentional opioid overdoses” that occurred during the comparative months in 2018.

Though only 38 percent of all-cause excess deaths in the age group recorded during the pandemic were found directly attributed to COVID-19, the researchers said inadequate testing is the likely reason, and it suggested that “COVID-19–related mortality may have been underdetected in this population.”

“Young adults are dying at historic rates,” said a New York Times opinion article on Wednesday based on the research.

“Based on prior trends, around 154,000 in this demographic had been projected to die in 2020. We surpassed that total in mid-November,” the article said.

It urged people to deal with COVID-19, and amend the message that “COVID-19 is dangerous for the old and younger people do well.”

“We need to tell young people that they are at risk and that they need to wear masks and make safer choices about social distancing,” it said.