Number of deaths for all leading causes of death in the U.S. in 2020./STATISTA

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released provisional mortality data which shows that Covid-19 was the third leading cause of death in the United States in 2020. Two reports published in the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report found that there were 3,358,814 deaths in the U.S. last year and that the age-adjusted death rate was 828.7 deaths per 100,000 of the population, a 15.9% increase on 2019.

Covid-19 was listed as the underlying cause of 345,323 deaths in 2020, making it the third leading cause of death after heart disease (690,882 deaths) and cancer (598,932). Other major causes of death among Americans last year included unintentional injuries (192,176), strokes (159,050) and chronic respiratory diseases (151,637)

While Covid-19 was the primary driver behind the increase in mortality between 2019 and 2020, there were other causes. Heart disease deaths climbed 4.8%, its largest increase since 2012. Noticeable increases were also observed in deaths from diabetes (15.4%), unintentional injury (11.1%) and Alzheimer's disease (9.8%). Some categories saw decreases between 2019 and 2020, notably suicide and chronic respiratory diseases which experienced falls of 5.6% and 3.4%, respectively. When it comes to Covid-19 deaths, the highest rates were recorded among Black and American Indian or Alaska Natives as well as among the elderly and males. The CDC noted that the research is subject to some limitations such as the data being provisional, death certificate submission varying by jurisdiction, certain categories of race being misclassified and cause of death possibly being classified in certain instances.

By Niall McCarthy, Contributor

© 2020 Forbes Media LLC. All Rights Reserved

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