Or coronavirus caused about 345 thousand deaths last year and was the third leading cause of death, behind only heart disease (690 thousand) and all cancers combined (598 thousand), according to a report by the country’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (the CDCs).
Heart disease was responsible for 20.5% of deaths in the country in 2020, against 17.8% of deaths from cancer and 10.3% of Covid-19. All other causes account for 51.4%.
The other leading causes of death in the U.S. in 2020 were: unintentional injury (4th), stroke / stroke (5th), chronic lower respiratory disease (6th), Alzheimer’s (7th), diabetes (8th), flu and pneumonia (9th) and kidney diseases (10th).
The death toll tends to increase every year in the U.S., but has grown a lot in the past year: 16% compared to 2019.
It was the biggest annual jump since 1918, when the deaths of soldiers in the First World War and the Spanish Flu pandemic caused the number of deaths to skyrocket 46% compared to 1917.
“The data should again serve as a catalyst for each of us to continue to do our part to decrease cases and reduce the spread of Covid-19 and vaccinate people as soon as possible,” said CDC director, Dr. Rochelle Walensky.
The USA is the country most affected by the coronavirus, with more than 550,000 victims and 30 million confirmed cases to date (about 20% of all deaths and infections in the world).
Preliminary data released in December already suggested that 2020 would be an especially deadly year, but the new CDC report showed that the reality was even worse than expected..
The new numbers are still considered preliminary and are based on the analysis of death certificates. The analysis generally takes 11 months, but the CDC has accelerated the schedule this year due to the “urgent need for quality and up-to-date data during the pandemic”.
In a separate report, the CDC responded to concerns about deaths incorrectly attributed to Covid-19 and said that its review confirms the accuracy of the count of deaths caused by the virus in the country.
Mortality rates in 2020 were highest among blacks, Indians and Alaskan natives, according to the CDC, and Covid-19’s death rate was highest among Hispanics.
“Unfortunately, based on the current state of the pandemic, these impacts remained in 2021,” warns Walensky. “We continue to see that communities of color are responsible for a disproportionate share of those deaths.”
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