COVID-19 was No. 3 cause of death in 2020 in U.S., replacing 'accidents,' CDC report shows

Roughly 3.3 million Americans died in 2020 from the virus, according to new CDC data.
Pedestrians in New York City, Sept. 20
Pedestrians in New York City, Sept. 20
(Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty)

Mortality data continues to place heart disease and cancer as the top causes of death in the U.S. But the No. 3 cause, accidents, was overtaken last year by COVID-19, which reportedly took 375,000 lives in the country.

Roughly 3.3 million Americans lost their lives in 2020, a dramatic 16% increase compared to the previous year, according to the Associated Press.

However, the death rate stayed below 1% of the country's population at an age-adjusted rate of 0.82%, up from 0.71% in 2019.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Wednesday released the provisional mortality data, which also pushed suicide off the the list of Top-10 causes of death in the U.S.

"Provisional death estimates provide an early indication of shifts in mortality trends," the CDC website states. "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."

The report also states that the virus death rate was lowest among young Americans ages 1 to14  and highest among individuals over 85. The total reported COVID-19 deaths include people who had the virus and other underlying health conditions or contributing causes.