Although 2022 saw fewer COVID-19 deaths than previous years, data suggests the illness will remain one of the year’s leading causes of death, according to CNN.
2022 data: Preliminary data shows that more than 267,000 people died of COVID-19 in 2022. This data comes from state-reported deaths through Jan. 9, which is a very early estimate. As the new year progresses, states will continue to review death certificates, a process usually unique to each state.
Previous years: This preliminary number suggests that fewer people died of COVID-19 in 2022 compared to the previous two years of the pandemic, with more than 475,000 COVID-19 deaths in 2021 and more than 350,000 in 2020. Even with preliminary 2022 numbers, experts say that COVID-19 will retain its spot as the third leading cause of death—the same position it held in 2021 and 2020.
- COVID-19 follows heart disease and cancer, which are first and second, respectively, and before drug overdoses and other unintentional injuries, which hold the fourth spot.
Reporting challenges: As states continue to review their data, several challenges come with this reporting, primarily related to determining underlying cause of death. Sometimes it is difficult to determine the “official” cause of death when an individual dealt with multiple chronic conditions. Yet, medical experts say that their process to determine COVID-19-related deaths has become more refined as the pandemic wears on, since they increasingly have more information on the virus and how it operates.
Looking to 2023: COVID-19 continues to take lives in 2023. Already 7,000 COVID-19-related deaths have been reported in the first few weeks of the new year. Around 20% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated, with around 16% of the eligible population having received the most recent booster shot.
Get vaxxed: For more information about how you can keep yourself and your community safe, check out the NAM’s resources at the This Is Our Shot Project webpage.