Farida B. Ahmad, MPH1; Jodi A. Cisewski, MPH1; Arialdi Miniño, MPH1; Robert N. Anderson, PhD1 (View author affiliations)
What is already known about this topic?
The COVID-19 pandemic caused approximately 375,000 deaths in the United States during 2020.
What is added by this report?
The age-adjusted death rate increased by 15.9% in 2020. Overall death rates were highest among non-Hispanic Black persons and non-Hispanic American Indian or Alaska Native persons. COVID-19 was the third leading cause of death, and the COVID-19 death rate was highest among Hispanics.
What are the implications for public health practice?
Provisional death estimates provide an early indication of shifts in mortality trends. Timely and actionable data can guide public health policies and interventions for populations experiencing higher numbers of deaths that are directly or indirectly associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.
CDC’s National Vital Statistics System (NVSS) collects and reports annual mortality statistics using data from U.S. death certificates. Because of the time needed to investigate certain causes of death and to process and review data, final annual mortality data for a given year are typically released 11 months after the end of the calendar year. Daily totals reported by CDC COVID-19 case surveillance are timely but can underestimate numbers of deaths because of incomplete or delayed reporting.