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The COVID-19 pandemic appears to have driven an increase in Arizona deaths, which are up statewide by 22% through August. (Photo: Nick Oza/The Republic)

The COVID-19 pandemic appears to have driven an increase in Arizona deaths, which are up statewide by 22% through August.

When the number of COVID-19 deaths reported by the Arizona Department of Health Services through August are subtracted, Arizona deaths are still up by nearly 10% over the first eight months of the previous year, the data shows. 

Year-over-year increases in overall deaths in Arizona typically range between 1% and 4%.

There’s no definitive evidence to explain the excess deaths beyond COVID-19 fatalities in 2020, but there are theories.

Some health experts say that while COVID-19 accounts for a majority of the jump in deaths, excess deaths could be from factors related to the pandemic, including delayed medical care and a general reluctance to go