Covid-19 was the third-largest cause of death for the second year in a row in 2021, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data released on Friday.
Heart disease and cancer continue to be responsible for the highest number of deaths, but the coronavirus maintained its spot from 2020 — the first year it was detected in the US, according to a pair of CDC reports.
In all, the CDC counted 415,399 deaths that were attributed directly to the virus, and an additional 45,114 cases in which it was a contributing cause of death. The virus accounted for over 13% of all US deaths, compared to 10% in 2020.
Heart disease accounted for 693,000 deaths last year while cancer was the cause of 605,000 lost lives.
Covid-19 death rates were highest among non-Hispanic Native Americans and Alaskan Natives, and non-Hispanic Black Americans.
Last year, the delta and omicron variants swept across the nation even as vaccines kept many Americans — who mostly became eligible for inoculation in spring 2021 — from the worst health outcomes, including hospitalization and death.
Older people, specifically those 85 and older, were far more likely to die from the virus than the general public, dying at a rate 12 times higher than the rest of the population.