COVID-19 caused an estimated 375,000 deaths in the United States in 2020, making it the third leading cause of death for the year, according to a provisional analysis of death certificate data conducted by researchers at the National Center for Health Statistics. Heart disease topped the list, causing over 690,000 deaths, followed by cancer which caused more than 598,000 deaths.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said there were about 3.36 million deaths in 2020 and that 11.3% of those deaths were caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The agency said that the death rate climbed by 15.9%, from 715.2 deaths per 100,000 people in 2019 to 828.7 deaths per 100,000 people in 2020.
The rise in the death rate wasn't just due to the coronavirus pandemic. Heart disease deaths were up by 4.8%, which was the largest increase since 2012. Deaths from the flu and pneumonia were 7.5% higher in 2020 than they were in 2019. Deaths caused by unintentional injury were up over 11%, while deaths from diabetes and Alzheimer's disease increased by 15.4% and 9.8%, respectively.
The CDC said the top ten causes of death were:
- Heart disease
- Unintentional injury
- Chronic lower respiratory disease
- Alzheimer's disease
- Influenza and pneumonia
- Kidney disease
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