COVID-19 is once again the US's leading cause of death, medical journal says

Killing more young people than previously known
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Posted at 10:12 AM, Dec 17, 2020

COVID-19 is currently the leading cause of death in the United States, according to research from the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

According to JAMA's research, daily deaths due to COVID-19 in the U.S. increased from 826 to 2,430 between Nov. 1 and Dec. 13. The 2,430 deaths linked to the virus now outpace heart disease (an average of 1,700 deaths a day) and cancer (1,600 deaths per day) — typically the two leading causes of death in the country.

Between March and October, COVID-19 ranked as the third-leading cause of death in the U.S., trailing only heart disease and cancer. However, the spread of the virus has been largely unchecked in recent months, as colder winter months have moved gatherings indoors, where the virus is more likely to spread.

COVID-19 was also the nation's leading cause of death in the springtime, when JAMA reports that about 2,900 people were dying each day from the virus.

"The failure of the public and its leaders to take adequate steps to prevent viral transmission has made the nation more vulnerable, allowing COVID-19 to become the leading cause of death in the United States, particularly among those aged 35 years or older," the Journal stated in its report. "Much of this escalation was preventable, as is true for many deaths to come."

JAMA's study was published a day after the Journal reported that COVID-19 has appeared to be much more deadly to young people than initially thought. Between March and July, more than 76,000 people aged between 25 to 44 died in the U.S. — about 12,000 more than in a typical year. JAMA attributed the excess mortality among young people to the virus and added that COVID-19 deaths in the age group outpaced unintentional opioid deaths in some regions.

"In fact, July appears to have been the deadliest month among this age group in modern American history. Over the past 20 years, an average of 11,000 young American adults diedeach July. This year that number swelled to over 16,000." researchers wrote in a New York Times opinion piece that was published alongside JAMA'S research.