According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. infant mortality rate experienced its largest increase in two decades.
The national infant mortality rate increased to 5.6 per 1,000 live births in 2022, up from 5.44 per 1,000 the previous year, according to the latest report.
The CDC’s report, which was published Wednesday, indicates that infant mortality for white and Native Americans, infant boys, and babies born at 37 weeks or earlier had significant increases. The overall U.S. death rate, however, fell 5%.
“It’s definitely concerning, given that it’s going in the opposite direction from what it has been,” Marie Thoma, a University of Maryland researcher, told CBS News.
The report also mentioned large increases in incidents of maternal complications and bacterial meningitis, the two leading causes of infant mortality.
Dr. Eric Eichenwald, a Philadelphia-based neonatologist, called the new data “disturbing,” but said experts at this point can only speculate as to why a statistic that generally has been falling for decades rose sharply in 2022.
RSV and flu infections rebounded last fall after two years of pandemic precautions, filling pediatric emergency rooms across the country. “That could potentially account for some of it,” said Eichenwald, who chairs an American Academy of Pediatrics committee that writes guidelines for medical care of newborns.
Infant mortality is the measure of how many babies die before they reach their first birthday. Because the number of babies born in the U.S. varies from year to year, researchers instead calculate rates to better compare infant mortality over time. The U.S. infant mortality rate has been worse than other high-income countries, which experts have attributed to poverty, inadequate prenatal care and other possibilities. But even so, the U.S. rate generally gradually improved because of medical advances and public health efforts.
Researchers don’t yet know if 2022 was an anomaly or the start of a trend. The question I have is, will anyone be able to ask the question about whether the increase in infant mortality may be connected to the COVID vaccine? Considering the vaccines first became widely available in early 2021, the timing of the increase in infant mortality seems to make it justifiable to ask questions about whether there may be a connection between COVID vaccinations and the increase in infant mortality.
If this post is demonetized, then you know I’m on to something.