Do you know the third leading cause of death in the United States in 2020 and 2021? A new analysis shows that COVID-19 was the third leading cause of death between March 2020 and October 2021 in the US.
Researchers at the National Cancer Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health, came out with the study based on the analysis of national death certificate data. The study appears July 5 in JAMA Internal Medicine.
In the analysis, the researchers said that COVID-19 accounted for one in eight deaths (350,000 deaths) in the United States during the period. Heart disease was the number one cause of death, followed by cancer. These two accounted for a total of 1.29 million deaths. The researchers also found that accidents and stroke were the fourth and fifth leading causes of death.
In every age group 15 years and older, COVID-19 was one of the top five causes of death during this period. In 2020 (March- December) and 2021 (January- October), the researchers found that COVID-19 was the fourth and fifth leading cause of death among people ages 45-54 and 35-44, respectively. In 2021, COVID-19 became the first and second leading cause of death in these age groups. Among those 85 and older, COVID-19 was the second leading cause of death in 2020, but dropped to third in 2021. This is mainly because of the targeted vaccination efforts in this age group, the study said.
OTHER DEATH CAUSES
The researchers also noted that the pandemic also had an indirect effect on other causes of death. Past data have shown that deaths from other causes, including heart disease, accidents, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, and diabetes increased from 2019 to 2020, possibly because people were reluctant to seek medical care for fear of catching COVID-19.