Largely due to the coronavirus pandemic, the year 2020 appears to have been the deadliest in the recorded history of the United States – at least since the year 1900, according to early data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The CDC confirmed to CNN in an email on Thursday that an agency analysis suggests that 2020 was the deadliest year in recorded history in terms of total number of deaths, and there was a 15% increase in the US death rate last year due to the pandemic. “We are working on a future report, but the underlying data on which the report is based are already available from our website,” a CDC spokesperson wrote in the email.
The upcoming report will be published in an issue of the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, and it will detail the rates at which deaths occurred by race, age and other demographic groups, the CDC confirmed to CNN via email.
For now, provisional data online show that last year, more than 3 million people – specifically, 3,362,151 – died from all causes in the United States. Among those deaths, 378,292 involved Covid-19, according to the data. With the US population being around 330 million people, about 3.3 million deaths represent 1% of the nation’s total population.
The provisional data note that total deaths in 2020 were 18% higher than expected relative to recent years, according to the data on the CDC’s website.
Overall, the year “2020 will have been the deadliest by far as long as we’ve kept records and almost certainly as long as the U.S. has existed,” Bob Anderson, chief mortality statistician for the CDC, told CNN on Thursday. But he added, “the population is much larger, so if you mean in terms of risk of dying, then you have to account for population growth and also aging of the population.”
In January, CDC statisticians shared with CNN that Covid-19 was likely the third leading cause of death in the United States last year, following heart disease and cancer.
Life expectancy in the United States also dropped a full year in the first half of 2020, according to a provisional report published by the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics in February. The report shows that US life expectancy fell to 77.8 years, back to what it was in 2006.