Tracking death rates during 2020, CDC officials determined that COVID-19 was the third leading cause of death in the US, after being documented as the underlying cause of approximately 345,323 deaths, and the contributing cause in another 32,000 deaths in 2020.
The COVID-19 fatalities were only outnumbered by those caused by heart disease and cancer, which killed 690,882 and 598,932 Americans, respectively.
Other conditions such as diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, kidney disease and unintentional injuries were also responsible for large portions of documented deaths. Researchers also found that COVID-19 replaced suicide as one of the top 10 leading causes of death.
In total, the deadly COVID-19 disease accounted for 11.3% of all deaths within the US, according to the health agency’s data. Officials also highlighted that amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the US’ overall annual death rate spiked by 15.9% in 2020.
Although 97.3% of the analyzed death certificates indicated that the individual’s death was caused by a combination of COVID-19 and at least one other condition, only 5.5% of the documented cases had no other listed health conditions.
Overall, the highest annual death rates were reported among men and individuals who were aged 85 or older, particularly involving people who were non-Hispanic Black, American Indian and Alaskan native.
However, when it came to COVID-19, CDC officials concluded that while it was both the same 85 and older crowd and men who were more affected, the study noted the disease affected populations who identified as Hispanic, American Indian and Alaskan Native.
The CDC found that the deadliest weeks in 2020 were in the weeks ending April 11 and December 26, when 78,917 and 80,656 deaths, respectively, were documented by health officials.