Health

Covid was the THIRD leading cause of death for Americans in 2021

Covid was the THIRD leading cause of death for Americans in 2021 – only trailing heart disease and cancer – making up one in every US deaths

  • Covid was responsible for 415,000 U.S. deaths in 2021, making it the nation’s third biggest killer for the second straight year 

  • Deaths from the virus actually increased by around 65,000 year-to-year last year despite the prevalence of the vaccines
  • The deadliest weeks in the U.S. were in January – during the winter Covid surge – and September – during the Delta surge
  • Only heart disease and cancer, the two typical leading killers, were responsible for more American deaths last year 

Covid was America’s third leading cause of death in 2021 for the second consecutive years, with the nation actually recording 65,000 more deaths last year than the previous despite the prevalence of the vaccines.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported Friday that 415,399 Americans dies from the virus last year, up from 350,831 in the pandemic’s first year.

Only heart disease and cancer – which were the leading causes of death in America even before the pandemic – killed more than the virus. Neither condition saw much year-to-year change.

A majority of Covid deaths that occurred last year happened right at the start of 2021, when the deadliest surge to date took place in January and February, and during the summer Delta variant surge.

The CDC released the provisional data as part of its weekly mortality report. Full, final, results may not be available until November, though provisional data is unlikely to fall too far from official figures.

In total, around 3.4 million Americans died of any cause in 2021, a slight increase from the 3.3 million deaths the agency reported a year earlier.

When adjusted for age, the agency finds that there were 841.6 deaths per every 100,000 members of the standard population.

The deadliest weeks in America occurred in January and September.

First was the week that ended on January 16, when 87,222 Americans died, mostly due to Covid.

At the time, the U.S. was dealing with the worst surge of the virus yet, as the virus tore through the country over the winter months.

While the vaccine was available at this point, having received Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorization in December 2020, access was still limited.

America lacked the supplies and infrastructure to distribute the shots to anyone who wanted it, and access was mainly restricted to those most vulnerable.

January and February of 2021 are still the deadliest months of the pandemic so far.

The next deadliest week was the week that ended on September 11, when 73,466 Americans died.

Covid was the THIRD leading cause of death for Americans in 2021

Covid was the THIRD leading cause of death for Americans in 2021

This was the deadliest week of the Delta variant fueled summer surge. While the vaccine was widely available at this point, many still had not decided to receive it.

In the time leading up to the surge, case and death levels were at pandemic lows, spurring a sense of complacency at the time just before the surge in early August.

While Covid deaths increased, levels of heart disease and cancer deaths – which are usually stable year-to-year – stayed about the same.

Heart disease, which is the leading cause of death for Americans basically every year, caused 696,000 deaths in 2020, before the figure dropped to 693,021 the next year.

Deaths from cancer, which is generally the second leading cause of death anyways, slightly increased from 602,350 to 604,553 last year.

The next leading causes of death where unintentional injuries, stroke, chronic lower respiratory disease, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, kidney disease and suicide. 

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