COVID Deaths Rose in 2021

Virus again is No. 3 cause of US fatalities, CDC reports
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 22, 2022 3:39 PM CDT
COVID Deaths Rose in 2021
Sonya Morgan, a registered nurse, works with a COVID-19 patient in January at Helen Keller Hospital in Sheffield, Ala.   (Dan Busey/The TimesDaily via AP, File)

Heart disease killed 693,000 people last year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Friday. Cancer's toll in the US was 605,000. And No. 3 was COVID-19, the Hill reports, at 415,000 COVID. "Covid shouldn't even be in the top 10 causes of death in the US if we consistently used all the tools available," Eric Topol, a professor of molecular medicine at Scripps Research, tweeted. "Yet we're still now losing the lives of 500 Americans each day." The disease was the No. 3 cause of death in 2020, as well.

The number of deaths attributed to COVID-19 rose by 60,000 in 2021, the provisional data show. COVID-19 was an underlying cause in more than one in eight deaths, per CNN, an increase from one in 10 the year before. Adding cases in which COVID-19 contributed to the death raises the toll to 460,000. Vaccinations could have prevented one-fourth of the COVID-19 deaths since the pandemic began, an analysis by the Peterson Center on Healthcare and the Kaiser Family Foundation shows.

Death rates again were highest for people 85 and older, though they were lower in 2021 than in 2020. Among other age groups, the death rates for COVID patients were higher last year. White people made up 65% of COVID fatalities last year, up from about 60%. Black fatalities fell from about 19% to 16%. Hispanic people fell less than 3 points, to about 16.5%. The CDC said that data show the need to step up prevention efforts. "We must work to ensure equal treatment in all communities in proportion to their need for effective interventions," the agency said. (More COVID-19 stories.)

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