COVID 19

COVID Remains a Leading Cause of Death in the U.S.

April 17, 2023 – It’s commonly accepted in American society when someone makes choices to help avoid a deadly heart attack or lower the risk of cancer. That’s because heart disease and cancer are the leading causes of death in the United States. But just one line down on the list of top killers, in third place, is COVID-19.

The risks of COVID-19 have faded so much from everyday American life that some experts are concerned people don’t fully realize it remains one of the leading causes of death in the U.S.

“We’re not presenting the data in a way that resonates with the American people,” former White House coronavirus response coordinator Deborah Birx, MD, told The Washington Post.

Deaths from COVID are at an all-time low of about 1,300 per week. (The previous low was 1,700 per week in July 2021.) But that rate is still high enough that people should consider it a major health threat, particularly if they have other health issues that make them more at risk, experts say.

“There are still people who are getting wicked sick,” Libby Hohmann, MD, who treats infectious diseases at Massachusetts General Hospital, told the Post.

She said being generally in good health or being vaccinated isn’t enough for someone to consider themselves risk-free, noting that she’d recently treated two very different COVID patients who were both near death. One was over 60 years old with a weakened immune system, and the other was in their 30s, previously healthy, and suddenly at risk of heart failure.

“For most of us, it’s kind of a yawn now, but … you see these people, COVID pushes them over the cliff,” Hohmann said.

Although the CDC hasn’t yet finalized data on the leading cause of death for 2022, all indications are that COVID will again place third behind cancer and heart disease. The think tank Kaiser Family Foundation projected that 2022 COVID deaths would exceed 230,000.

In 2021, CDC data showed that heart disease killed nearly 700,000 people, cancer killed 605,000, and COVID-19 killed nearly 417,000. In fourth place for cause of death was accidents, at 225,000 deaths.

A survey last August showed that Americans vastly underestimate how dangerous COVID is, compared to other risks of death. About half of people told the survey company Ipsos that they didn’t know if more people die of traffic accidents than COVID, and 35% of people said they believe traffic accidents kill more people.

The CDC still recommends COVID-19 vaccination and boosters as a leading way to protect yourself from severe disease. According to the CDC’s latest COVID-19 tip sheet, people should discuss their risk level with their medical provider and make a personal plan. Safety measures could include wearing a mask in public, prioritizing spending time outside or in places with good ventilation, and monitoring COVID-19 levels in your local community.

Deaths from COVID are at an all-time low of about 1,300 per week. (The previous low was 1,700 per week in July 2021.) But that rate is still high enough that people should consider it a major health threat, particularly if they have other health issues that make them more at risk, experts say.

Source: https://www.webmd.com/covid/news/20230417/covid-remains-leading-cause-of-death-us

Donovan Larsen

Donovan is a columnist and associate editor at the Dark News. He has written on everything from the politics to diversity issues in the workplace.

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