2021: COVID-19 is Third Leading Cause of Death After Heart Disease and Cancer

Mary Madison, RN, RAC-CT, CDP
Clinical Consultant – Briggs Healthcare

CDC’s April 22, 2022, MMWR (Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report) Provisional Mortality Data — United States, 2021 shows some significant provisional statistics.

“The year 2021 saw the highest death rate since 2003, with increases in many leading causes of death, including COVID-19 and unintentional injuries. Although COVID-19 death rates decreased for persons aged ≥85 years, age groups <75 years saw large increases from 2020 to 2021. Unintentional injury deaths were largely driven by drug overdose deaths, and likely contributed to the increased death rate in younger populations. In 2020, drug overdose death rates increased more for persons aged 15–64 years than for persons aged ≥65 years…COVID-19 death rates were highest among males, adults aged ≥85 years, and NH/OPI and AI/AN persons. The highest numbers of overall deaths and COVID-19 deaths occurred during January and September. COVID-19 was the third leading underlying cause of death in 2021, for the second year since the disease emerged.”