SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – On Tuesday, Utah marked a bleak COVID-19 milestone as the statewide virus death toll surpassed 3,000. Between Friday and Monday, 31 virus-related deaths were reported.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. is averaging 215 COVID-19 related deaths per 100,000 people, reporting a total of 714,243 deaths since January 21, 2020. Since the same date, Utah has reported 3,025 virus deaths, a rate of 93 COVID-19 deaths per 100,000 people – one of the lowest rates in the nation.

COVID-19 Death Rate in the US Reported to the CDC, by State_Territory (deaths per 100,000) as of Oct. 13, 2021. (CDC)

New research from the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute with the University of Utah has found the state’s COVID-19 cumulative per-capita death rate was 64.9 deaths per 100,000, lower than the U.S. rate of 167.1 from April 1, 2020, to March 31, 2021. Researchers say 51.4% of Utah’s lower COVID-19 death rate is due to the age, sex, and racial/ethnic composition of its population.

Numerous health officials have said COVID-19 is generally deadlier for those who are older, male, and racial and ethnic minorities. According to researchers, “even if Utah’s COVID-19 response mirrored the U.S.’s response, we would expect Utah to have a lower COVID-19 death rate.” This is largely in part to Utah’s young population – the state has the youngest median age nationwide – and a lower share of racial and ethnic minorities, the report explains.

Gardner researchers also found that Utah’s COVID-19 death rate has consistently been lower than the national average. While it follows the same trend, in a sense, the data shows Utah’s death rates remain lower than the national average.

Here is a look at one of the figures researchers shared comparing the death rate by age, sex, and race/ethnicity in Utah and the U.S. from April 2020-2021:

Provisional Death Rate (per 100k) Comparisons by Age, Sex, and Race/Ethnicity, United States and Utah, April 2020-2021 (Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute)

Overall, researchers say Utah’s “younger age structure, different racial and ethnic composition, and sex distribution” play a part in the state’s lower than the national average COVID-19 death rate. According to the research, which you can see at the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute’s website, the data was collected before the delta variant wave of COVID-19 cases and deaths.