(NEXSTAR) — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Wednesday that COVID-19 was the third leading cause of death in the United States in 2020.
The preliminary data, released Wednesday, estimates that the COVID-19 pandemic caused about 375,000 American deaths in 2020.
Ahead of COVID-19 were heart disease, which killed 690,000 people last year, and cancer, which killed 598,000, the CDC said.
COVID-19 increased the overall death rate in the country as well. From 2019 to 2020, the estimated death rate increased by 15.9%, from 715.2 to 828.7 deaths per 100,000 population.
Black people and American Indians had the highest age-adjusted death rates, and there were more reported deaths among men than women.
COVID-19 was especially fatal for a handful of groups, including males, adults ages 85 and up, American Indians, Alaska Natives and Hispanics.
It’s possible the death rate from COVID-19 is higher, as some deaths may not have been correctly reported, especially at the start of the pandemic.