Apr 22, 2022 - Health

COVID third leading cause of death in U.S. in 2021

Healthcare worker Azucena Estrada collects nasal swab samples at a drive-thru Covid-19 testing site in El Paso, Texas on Jan. 12, 2022. Photo: Paul Ratje/AFP via Getty Images

COVID-19 was the third leading cause of death in the United States in 2021, according to provisional data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The big picture: For the second consecutive year, COVID-19 was ranked as the third leading cause of death in Americans behind heart disease and cancer.

By the numbers: COVID-19 was the underlying cause for about 415,000 deaths in 2021, an increase of about 60,000 people. The virus was a contributing cause to an additional 45,000 deaths.

  • It accounted for about 13% of all deaths in 2021, compared to about 10% in 2020.
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