The novel coronavirus was the third leading cause of death in the U.S. in 2020 and 2021, accounting for 350,000 deaths, according to national death certificate data reviewed by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).
Heart disease and cancer were the top two causes of death in 2020 and 2021, while COVID-19 accounted for 1 in 8 deaths.
The coronavirus also was the first and leading cause of death among people ages 45-54 and 35-44, respectively, according to the report.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Jan. 18, 2020, confirmed the first case of COVID-19 in the U.S., nine days after the World Health Organization announced a mysterious COVID-related pneumonia in Wuhan, China.
The WHO declared the outbreak a pandemic on March 11, 2020.
According to JAMA, the pandemic also had indirect effects on other causes of death in the U.S. Death rates increased for heart disease, accidents, stroke, Alzheimer's disease, and diabetes from 2019 to 2020.
"Potential explanations are fear of accessing health care or misattribution of COVID-19 deaths to other causes," it said.
Additionally, accidental deaths (drug overdoses, unintentional alcohol poisoning) "assault, and suicide remain major causes of death in the U.S., particularly in younger age groups; the pandemic may have contributed to some of these deaths," said the report.
Solange Reyner ✉
Solange Reyner is a writer and editor for Newsmax. She has more than 15 years in the journalism industry reporting and covering news, sports and politics.
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