In a recent article published in the journal JAMA Internal MedicineResearchers examined the leading causes of death in the United States (US) in the pandemic of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2).
Study: Leading causes of death in the US during the COVID-19 pandemic, March 2020 to October 2021. Image Credit: Corona Borealis Studio / Shutterstock
Cancer and heart disease were the leading causes of death in the US in 2020, contributing to 1.29 million deaths, followed by SARS-CoV-2 infection, which was associated with 350,000 deaths. The 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic may have inadvertently increased other causes of death such as diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease and accidental injuries.
About the study
In the current study, the scientists analyzed the leading causes of death overall and in different age groups in the US between March 2020 and October 2021 during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The team obtained complete information on the 2020 National Death Certificate and accessed the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for 2021 data on May 5, 2022. The researchers did not include data more recent than October 2021 because these were incomplete. They identified the five leading causes of death by age group and year and compared the months of March to December 2020 with January to October 2021. The study did not require review by the institutional committee because the data was publicly available.
Results and conclusions
The study results indicated that heart disease, cancer, COVID-19, accidents and stroke were the most common causes of death in the US between March 2020 and October 2021, with rates of 20.1%, 17.5%, 12.2%, respectively. 6.2%, and 4.7%. 2.875 million people died between March and December 2020 and 2.855 million people died between January and October 2021. In addition, the top five causes of death were the same every year. In persons older than one year, the number of deaths increased in all age groups.
The leading causes of death in all groups aged 55 or older were COVID-19, cancer and heart disease. The top three causes of death remained unchanged in these age groups in 2020 and 2021.
In 2020, SARS-CoV-2 infection was the second most common cause of death among people aged 85 years or older, with 110,000 deaths or 12.8% of victims, and the third in 2021 with 69,000 or 8.9% of deaths .
With 17,000 fatalities or 10.4% of all deaths between the ages of 45 and 54 in 2020, COVID-19 was the fourth most common cause of death after cancer, heart disease and accidents. Nevertheless, SARS-CoV-2 infection was the leading cause of causation in this age group in 2021, with 30,000 deaths or 16.8% of deaths.
In all age groups between 1 and 44 years, accidents were the leading cause of death in both timestamps. Compared to 2020, SARS-CoV-2 infection rose from the fifth leading cause of death in people aged 35 to 44 with 6,100 fatalities to the second leading cause of 13,000 deaths in 2021. In addition, SARS-CoV-2 increased. infection to become the fourth leading cause of death in 2021 in people aged 25 to 34, accounting for 5,000 deaths, and for people aged 15 to 24, accounting for 1,100 deaths.
Overall, the study results showed that SARS-CoV-2 infection caused one in eight deaths in the U.S. between March 2020 and October 2021 and was among the top five causes of death for people 15 years of age or older in all age groups. While the number of deaths from cancer and heart disease in general and in most age groups exceeded the number of deaths from COVID-19, accidents were the leading cause of death in people aged 1 to 44. were 85 years or older compared to 2020, but increased among 15 to 54 years old and became the leading cause of death among 45 to 54 years old.