COVID-19 falls from being the top US killer in January to the seventh-leading cause of death

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COVID-19 falls from being top US killer in January to seventh-leading cause of death behind heart disease, cancer, strokes and Alzheimer’s with officials crediting vaccines as 54.6% of the population receive at least one dose

  • COVID-19 was the seventh-leading cause of death in the United States in the first half of 2021, a new analysis found
  • The virus was the third-leading cause of deaths in 2020, and leading cause of death over December, January and February
  • About 300 Americans are dying every day from COVID-19 in comparison with 1,000 per day during the deadly winter surge
  • Heart disease and cancer remain the two leading causes of death in the country, followed by accidents, stroke, lower respiratory disease, and Alzheimer’s


COVID-19 is no longer among the top five leading causes of death in the U.S, a new report shows.

An analysis by Peterson-Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) Health Systems Tracker found that the virus is the seventh-leading cause of death in the nation through the first half of 2021.

Last year, for comparison, it was the third-leading cause of death, only behind heart disease and cancer, and killed more people than anything else in December 2020, January 2021 and February 2021.

The data signal that while the virus is still circulating and does kill an average of about 300 people a day in America, there is a slow return to normalcy.

COVID-19 was the seventh leading cause of death in America over the first half of 2021, a signal of the pandemics nearing end

COVID-19 was the seventh leading cause of death in America over the first half of 2021, a signal of the pandemics nearing end

COVID-19 was the leading cause of the death in America over the winter

COVID-19 was the leading cause of the death in America over the winter

At its peak in January, during the deadly winter surge, COVID-19 was responsible for 3,136 U.S. deaths every day. 

The total has since dropped nearly 90 percent, largely because of the countries successful vaccine rollout.

Currently, about two-thirds of all American adults and more than half of all Americans have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.  

Case rates have faltered over the past few months as well, with the country now averaging less than 80,000 cases a week – well below the high of over 250,000 in January.

It has also been over three months since the country recorded more than 1,000 COVID-19 deaths in the single day. 

The virus was responsible for 345,323 deaths last year.

Heart disease – which has long held the dubious honor of being America’s leading cause of death – managed to double COVID’s death toll with 690,882 deaths last year.

There was also a slight uptick of heart disease deaths last year, as usually the yearly death toll in around 650,000.

Cancer, the second leading cause of death in 2020, killed 598,932 Americans, a total consistent with previous years. 

They both remain the top two causes of death in 2021 as well.

Other causes that coronavirus managed to surpass last year are now ahead of it, though.

Accidents (474 deaths a day), stroke (451), chronic lower respiratory disease (377) and Alzheimer’s (351) all killed more people per day through the first half of the year.

While the virus sliding behind many of the usual suspects in the standings is a promising sign, the pandemic is not quite over.

With one-third of American adults unvaccinated and the rise of the Indian ‘Delta’ variant of the virus, some experts feat the nation could face a resurgence of cases and deaths in the coming months.

The varian is much more contagious than other strains of the virus, and is already starting to take hold in some unvaccinated pockets in the country. 

Dr Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, warned that there could be ‘two Americas‘ this summer, as unvaccinated portions deal with hectic virus outbreaks while vaccinated portions remain largely unscathed.

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