UVA research assesses COVID-19 death toll in the United States

UVA research assesses COVID-19 death toll in the United States
University of Virginia

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Research from the University of Virginia’s Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service is showing that the coronavirus is becoming one of the leading causes of death in the United States.

“What we pretty much find is that COVID is not only entering the leading causes of death, it’s entering at the third position,” Shonel Sen, a research and policy analyst at the University of Virginia, said. “With COVID, we are estimating that by the end of the year there will be about 300,000 people who will have died from COVID and that makes it a significant chain, so right after heart disease and cancer."

Sen has been researching how the amount of COVID-19 deaths in 2020 compares to the top leading causes of death for Americans in 2018, the most recent finalized numbers.

“In the past when you’ve had the leading causes of death, change has been gradual,” she said.

It’s been a rapid jump to the top of the list. COVID-19 hasn’t been here a full year yet but the virus is already taking its toll on the United States.

“So the 7th to 10th leading causes of death in 2018 were diabetes, influenza and pneumonia, kidney disease and suicide, and currently the number of COVID deaths is greater than these four causes combined,” Sen said.

These numbers are still only projections and will be confirmed when the official 2020 leading causes of death are published. For now, Sen says her findings should come as a warning for people not to let their guard down.

“It cannot be discounted the fact that it is not going away even though people are facing a lot of pandemic fatigue and the promise of the vaccine makes us hopeful, but the fact that there will still be a large number of lives lost from COVID, that is one of the main, you know, the consequences from this research,” Sen said.

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