COVID-19 was the No. 1 leading cause of death in the U.S. in January, at the peak of last winter’s brutal coronavirus surge, but then vaccines became widely available and it dropped to No. 7 by July, the Kaiser Family Foundation says in a new analysis of COVID-19 fatalities. Then the Delta variant hit and found ample unvaccinated Americans to kick COVID-19 back up to the No. 2 killer in August and September, the leading cause of death for Americans age 35 to 54, and even the sixth or seventh leading cause of death for children.
In September, “COVID-19 took the lives of 1,899 people per day on average,” KFF writes. “By comparison, heart disease, which is typically the No. 1 cause of death in the U.S. each year, leads to the death of about 2,000 Americans per day, and cancer claims about 1,600 American lives per day.” Deaths are declining now, but “an average of over 1,600 people per day continued to die of COVID-19 in the first week of October,” KFF said, “even as safe and effective vaccines have been free and widely available to adults in all states and D.C. since early May.”
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