COVID-19 is now the leading cause of death in the U.S., study shows

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In a new study, researchers found that COVID-19 is now the leading cause of death in the United States.

They cited current daily mortality rates to show that COVID-19 has now surpassed heart disease and cancer as the leading daily cause of death in the U.S.

The research was conducted by a team at Virginia Commonwealth University.

By October, COVID-19 was the third-leading cause of death for people ages 45 to 84 and the second-leading cause of death for those over 85.

But those numbers were an aggregate of the previous eight months.

Since November, the weekly average for daily COVID-19 deaths has tripled, from 826 to 2,430 deaths per day, writes Woolf.

Heart disease and cancer, which have been the leading causes of death for decades, cause approximately 1,700 and 1,600 deaths per day, respectively.

The paper gives context to the rising death counts reported in the news.

According to the team, the current death rate from COVID-19 is the equivalent of 15 airplanes crashing every day, each carrying 150 passengers.

And the numbers may underestimate the threat of COVID-19. For one, the rates of infection are climbing, and the more the virus spreads, the more people it will infect.

Perhaps more importantly, the numbers don’t include the excess deaths uncounted for by the official death tallies.

Reporting delays, miscodings, and deaths caused by disruptions created by the pandemic could put the actual numbers 20% higher than publicly reported ones, the team writes.

Disruptions mean secondary health effects, such as delayed surgeries, missed doctor appointments, the socioeconomic impact of isolation and job loss, and more, that have led to higher death rates by causes other than COVID-19 in previous years.

The team says looking ahead offers the hope of the vaccine, but it’s not coming fast enough to save the people who are dying now.

It’s urgent for Americans to get serious about wearing masks, social distancing, and avoiding large gatherings, or else there will be more alarming numbers and COVID-19 will remain a leading cause of death for far too long.

One author of the study is Steven Woolf, M.D., director emeritus of VCU’s Center on Society and Health.

The study is published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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