The Deadliest Day of the Year

Posted on January 11th, 2023 by Cremation Center of Southern Utah under Death, New Year's Day
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What is the deadliest day of the year?  The answer may surprise you, and we just passed it on the calendar.  “The Deadliest Day of the Year is Almost Upon Us” is an article written by Christopher Ingraham for The Washington Post, and delivers the blow that January 1st, New Year’s Day, is the deadliest day of all.  

As Mr. Ingraham states, “The seasonality of death — more deaths in the winter, fewer in the summer — is a well-established and long-running public health mystery.  You get a sort of wave of death that ebbs in the late summer months, rises sharply through December, and hits a peak exactly on Jan. 1 before subsiding more gradually through the beginning of the year.”  

But the big question is – why?  A few years ago, a sociology professor named David Phillips set out to determine the root cause.  He found that the increase of deaths are generally being driven by illness, disease, and old age, rather than by accidents, homicides, or any other non-health-related cause.  Weather doesn’t seem to be a factor, either, as the holiday spikes are even bigger in the warmer Southern states.  The spikes are just as big if you exclude people who died from alcohol or drugs, or people who died from pneumonia or the flu.

Phillips was able to determine the following – some research shows that people tend to “postpone going into the ER around the holidays because they want to be with their family,” he said. In situations where minutes or seconds can mean the difference between life and death, some folks may choose to ignore their chest pain or other concerning symptoms until after the holiday dinner.  “In the case of some serious illness, that’s a very foolish thing to do,” Phillips says.

Another potential reason for the spike in deaths is that hospitals may be understaffed around the holidays, and their most experienced workers may be taking time off. That could lead to reduced performance and reduced ability to save lives.  More research is needed.  “It’s not only a mystery, but a mystery that people haven’t even tried to engage with,” Phillips said.  In short – remember to take extra care of yourself during the holiday season and early in the new year!  

The Cremation Center of Southern Utah is located at 1316 S. 400 E., Ste. A5, St. George, or call (435) 986-9100. 

Submitted by Larry L. Hansen, Licensed Funeral Director/Owner, The Cremation Center of Southern Utah.


Cremation Center of Southern Utah

The Cremation Center of Southern Utah was founded in December, 2009. At the time, other mortuaries in the area were shying away from and even discouraging cremation. Our desire was to create a unique, warm, and caring environment where cremation was not only encouraged, but embraced.

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