Covid-19 caused a significant jump in the US death rate in the second quarter of 2020, according to early estimates released Thursday by the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS).
The age-adjusted all-cause mortality rate was 769 per 100,000 in the first quarter of 2020 and rose to 840 in the second quarter of the year. Comparatively, the death rate for the second quarter of 2019 was 702 per 100,000.
The report shows that mortality rose significantly in 2020, but it’s an incomplete snapshot of the pandemic since data for only the first two quarters of 2020 are currently available.
The first US case of the coronavirus was identified on January 21, 2020, and the World Health Organization declared the novel coronavirus a pandemic on March 11.
The CDC did not introduce the death certificate coding for Covid-19 until late March 2020. This explains why the Covid-19 death rate increased from 7 per 100,000 in the first quarter of 2020 to 109 in the second quarter, according to NCHS data.
By comparison, the age-adjusted death rate for heart disease -- the top killer in the United States -- for the second quarter of 2020 was 166 per 100,000. For cancer, the second leading cause of death in the country, that figure was 139.
Last week, statisticians for the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told CNN that Covid-19 was likely the third leading cause of death in the US in 2020.
As of Thursday morning, there have been at least 23,077,437 cases of the coronavirus in the United States and at least 384,784 deaths.