Contagious Disease Current Events HC Statistics

COVID-19 projected to be #7 cause of death in the US in 2020

On March 9, I wrote a post titled “COVID-19 in context” which showed that COVID-19 (annualized) death rate would make it the the 27th leading cause of death worldwide. By March 21st, it was the 17th leading cause of death. Now, on March 31st, COVID-19 is the 13th leading cause of death (worldwide), if we annualize today’s death rate from the WHO situation report. Here is the latest figure from the March 31 WHO situation report.

When this post was written, there were 750,890 COVID cases worldwide with 57,610 deaths. New cases have appeared to flatten a bit based on the WHO data but the most recent data from John Hopkins shows an increasing trend in number of cases when adding in a full count of today’s numbers. Nevertheless, COVID-19 still falls behind other diseases such as Diarrheal diseases, Diabetes, Liver diseases, Road injuries and Kidney disease (mortality ranks #8-#12) and just ahead of tuberculosis and HIV (ranks #13-#14).

The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington projects that the peak number of COVID-19 cases in the US will occur on April 15. They also project that by August there will be a total of 83,967 COVID-19 deaths. If this number holds and we assume that the 2020 number of deaths for other diseases is the same as the number 2019 US deaths, then COVID-19 would be the #7 leading cause of death in the US, on par with diabetes.


  1. I wonder how many people will die from other diseases that normally would have been treatable, but went under-cared-for bc of hospital overcrowding? May be difficult to calculate secondary death toll of adjacent deaths, have no idea how economists would go about measuring that. What a puzzle!

  2. How do we pull ourselves out of such a predicament? It heartbreaks that cases and deaths are rising so exponentially! Quite disheartening! A solution needs to be found ASAP!

  3. This article did not age well. We’re at 72,800+ COVID-19 deaths on May 6th. 83,967 in August would now be viewed as incredibly good luck, which is a sad commentary.

    COVID-19 could well be the #3 cause of death in the United States this year, and that’s horrible.

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