Five Facts about Covid-19 Deaths

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Covid-19 is the nation’s third-largest cause of death. The elderly are far more susceptible than young people.

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  1. Globally, the U.S. ranks 1stin total Covid deaths, 8thper capita.

With more than 165,000 Covid-19 deaths, the United States has far more than any other nation, and more than triple the number of any country except Brazil (about 101,000 deaths as of Aug. 10). The U.S. fares somewhat better on a per-person basis. It ranks 8th in per capita Covid deaths, with about 497 per 1 million residents. Belgium ranks first (864 deaths per million residents); the United Kingdom is second (700 deaths per million), and Peru is third (659). Spain, Italy, Sweden and Chile hold the next four spots.

  1. Covid-19 is now the nation’s 3rdleading cause of death.

More than 2.8 million Americans die each year. Heart disease and cancer remain the two largest causes, by far. With recent estimates indicating that total U.S. Covid-19 deaths could exceed 180,000 by the end of August, the virus has  supplanted accidents as the nation’s third-leading cause of death. Next on the list are chronic lower respiratory diseases, strokes and Alzheimer’s.

  1. People over age 74 account for 58 percent of U.S. Covid-19 deaths.

Unlike some past pandemics such as influenza, Covid-19 has a comparatively small impact on children and young adults. Data from the Centers for Disease Control through early August, when total U.S. Covid-19 deaths had reached 142,164, showed that 45 were among children 14 and younger. People aged 15-34 recorded 1,299 Covid-19 deaths; those aged 35-54 had 10,027 deaths; those aged 55-74 recorded 47,453 deaths; and people 75 and older accounted for 83,340 of the Covid-19 deaths, about 58 percent of the national total.

  1. Black Americans suffer disproportionately from Covid-19.

African Americans comprise about 12.3 percent of the U.S. population, but account for 22.3 percent of the country’s Covid-19 deaths. Whites account for 61 percent of the population, but less than 53 percent of Covid-19 deaths. The virus’ death toll on Hispanic or Latino people is roughly equal to their share of the population (a bit under 17 percent).

  1. Non-Covid U.S. deaths are also rising.

A good way to measure Covid-19’s full impact is to compare a city’s or state’s current overall death rates with the expected rate based on historic data. Experts say this helps capture persons who die of other diseases or accidents because hospitals are too crowded to treat them or they fear exposure to the coronavirus if they go to emergency rooms. The coronavirus pandemic “has killed so many Americans that the patterns of death in nearly every state look aberrant when compared to recent history,” says a New York Times analysis of estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Nationwide, 200,700 more people died than usual from March 15 to July 25. That is 54,000 more deaths than officially attributed to the virus. 

No Labels is an organization of Democrats, Republicans, and independents working to bring American leaders together to solve problems.



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