How Americans Die

Comparing COVID-19 to the other leading causes of death in America

Photo by Fey Marin on Unsplash

Despite failing to protect America every single step along the way, Trump now wants appreciation from Governors, congratulations from the media and, quite likely, a medal too if his incompetence ends up killing fewer than 200,000 Americans.

As of 1pm on March 31, the U.S. has recorded 3,431 deaths from COVID-19, compared to just 162 in South Korea, which had its first known case on the same day in January. The U.S. death toll from COVID-19 has already exceeded that of Hurricane Katrina, Hurricane Maria, the Afghanistan War and 9/11.

The list below shows how Americans die, using 2017 data from the CDC showing the top 10 causes of death, plus flu statistics for the past five years, major wars, and deaths from the 9/11 terror attacks and natural disasters since 2000.

At the current high estimate of 240,000 deaths, COVID-19 would be the third leading cause of death in America, after heart disease and cancer. At the low estimate of 100,000, it would be the seventh leading cause of death, killing 20% more Americans than diabetes. If 100,000 die from COVID-19, Trump is already pre-spinning that tragedy as “a very good job.”

Cause of Death:

Heart disease: 647,457

Cancer: 599,108

World War II: 405,399

COVID-19 (high estimate): 240,000

Accidents (unintentional injuries): 169,936

Chronic lower respiratory diseases: 160,201

Stroke (cerebrovascular diseases): 146,383

Alzheimer’s disease: 121,404

World War I: 116,516

COVID-19 (low estimate): 100,000

Diabetes: 83,564

Flu (2017-18): 61,000

Vietnam War: 58,209

Influenza and pneumonia: 55,672

Flu (2014-15): 51,000

Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome, and nephrosis: 50,633

Intentional self-harm (suicide): 47,173

Flu (5-year average): 41,400

Flu (2016-17): 38,000

Flu (2018-19): 34,000

Flu (2015-16): 23,000

H1N1 pandemic (2009-10): 12,469

COVID-19 (as of 4pm ET, April 2): 5,808

Iraq War: 4,491

September 11 attacks: 2,977

Hurricane Maria (2017): 2,975

Afghanistan War: 2,400

Hurricane Katrina (2005): 1,833


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