Covid-19 has killed more than 1 million people in the United States since the start of the pandemic, and life expectancy has been cut by nearly 2.5 years since 2020.
A very early look at data from 2022 suggests that there were significantly fewer Covid-19 deaths in the third year of the pandemic than there were in the first two. More than 267,000 people died of Covid-19 in 2022, according to preliminary data from Johns Hopkins University, compared with more than 350,000 Covid-19 deaths in 2020 and more than 475,000 Covid-19 deaths in 2021.
This first look at the data is based on deaths reported by states through January 9. The final count will differ from this early data as states continue to review death certificates and refine their reporting, and it will be months before the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention releases preliminary mortality data to compare to other causes of death.
Despite the lower death toll, however, Covid-19 will likely remain the third leading cause of death in the US in 2022 for the third year in a row.
In 2021, as in many years before, the top causes of death in the US were heart disease and cancer, each killing more than 600,000 people. The fourth leading cause of death was drug overdoses and other unintentional injuries, which killed about 225,000 people.
If overall mortality trends hold steady into 2022, as they typically do, that would again leave Covid-19 squarely as the third most common cause of death.
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