COVID-19: Third Leading Cause of Death in U.S. in 2020

From: COVID-19

COVID-19: Third Leading Cause of Death in U.S. in 2020

GBEW News Brief

Provided by: George Belcher Evans & Wilmer

COVID-19 Was Third Leading Cause of Death in the U.S. in 2020

In 2020, a total of over 3.3 million resident deaths were registered across the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

This total from 2020—the first year of the coronavirus pandemic—marked the highest annual total of deaths the nation has ever recorded, with fatalities from COVID-19 contributing a significant number.

Notably, COVID-19 became the third leading cause of these deaths, accounting for around 350,000 deaths, according to the CDC.

Outside of COVID-19, the other nine of 10 leading causes of death in 2020 were the same as in 2019, while some changed ranks. Among the top 10 causes, unintentional injuries (including drug overdoses) and diabetes recorded all-time highs during the year.

Paired with COVID-19, these increases factor into 2020’s record-high documented deaths and a decrease in life expectancy. 

Findings from the CDC show that in 2020, the age-adjusted death rate increased to around 835 deaths per 100,000, an increase of almost 17% from 2019. Life expectancy decreased to 77 years, a decrease of 1.8 years from 2019.

What This Means

These findings illustrate the life-altering significance of the coronavirus pandemic. While year-end findings from 2021 are not yet publicly available, COVID-19 fatalities are expected to remain a leading cause of death in the United States.

Amid the current state of the pandemic and the emerging coronavirus Omicron variant, experts warn that the COVID-19 pandemic is likely to continue to have a major impact on the health of Americans. 

Heading into 2022, individuals should continue to monitor pandemic-related developments. George Belcher Evans & Wilmer will keep you informed of any noteworthy updates.