By Ernie Mundell and Robin Foster
THURSDAY April 1, 2021 (HealthDay News) – In a finding that illustrates the heavy toll pandemic confronted America, a new government report confirms COVID-19 has become the third leading cause of death in 2020.
Researchers from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say more than 547,000 lives have been lost to COVID-19 since the pandemic began last spring. Only the two biggest long-term killers, heart disease and Cancer, killed more Americans in 2020.
In 2020 alone, COVID-19 was the cause or contributing factor to the deaths of 377,883 people in the United States, just over 11% of the 3.3 million people estimated to have died last year CBS News reported. During this time, heart disease caused 690,882 deaths and cancer 598,932 deaths.
The highest death rates from COVID-19 have been recorded among those over 85, Native Americans, Hispanics and men, CBS News reported, Hispanics being the hardest hit. The pandemic has claimed nearly double the death toll as “unintentional injuries,” which was the third leading cause of death in 2019.
“Data should once again act as a catalyst for all of us [to] continue to do our part to reduce cases and reduce the spread of COVID-19, and get people vaccinated as soon as possible, ”CDC director Dr Rochelle Walensky said at a press briefing on Wednesday, NPR reported.
2020 has already been the deadliest year in U.S. history. The CDC had recently estimated that the average life expectancy dropped by an entire year in the first half of 2020, CBS News reported.
Some have questioned the CDC’s death toll, which largely relies on determination of the cause of death by state and local authorities, CBS News reported. But in a second report published in the CDC publication Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report On Wednesday, the CDC concluded that the death toll from COVID-19 was likely accurate. Looking at the death certificate data, the agency found that 97% of the cases had documented other details consistent with the illness, CBS News reported.
The reports come as the CDC warned that a multi-month drop in the rate of coronavirus deaths are at a standstill.