Customize your JAMA Network experience by selecting one or more topics from the list below.
The current exponential increase in coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is reaching a calamitous scale in the United States, potentially overwhelming the health care system and causing substantial loss of life. The news media dutifully report each day’s increase in new cases and deaths, but putting these numbers in perspective may be difficult. The daily US mortality rate for COVID-19 deaths is equivalent to the September 11, 2001, attacks, which claimed 2988 lives,1 occurring every 1.5 days, or 15 Airbus 320 jetliners,2 each carrying 150 passengers, crashing every day.
A helpful approach to put the effects of the pandemic in context is to compare COVID-19–related mortality rates with the leading causes of death that, under ordinary circumstances, would pose the greatest threat to different age groups.3 The conditions listed in the Table include the 3 leading causes of death in each of the 10 age groups from infancy to old age. Using data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Table shows mortality rates for these conditions during the period of March through October 20184 (the most recent year for which detailed cause-of-death data are available) with COVID-19 mortality rates during March through October 2020.5
Identify all potential conflicts of interest that might be relevant to your comment.
Conflicts of interest comprise financial interests, activities, and relationships within the past 3 years including but not limited to employment, affiliation, grants or funding, consultancies, honoraria or payment, speaker's bureaus, stock ownership or options, expert testimony, royalties, donation of medical equipment, or patents planned, pending, or issued.
Err on the side of full disclosure.
If you have no conflicts of interest, check "No potential conflicts of interest" in the box below. The information will be posted with your response.
Not all submitted comments are published. Please see our commenting policy for details.
Woolf SH, Chapman DA, Lee JH. COVID-19 as the Leading Cause of Death in the United States. JAMA. 2021;325(2):123–124. doi:10.1001/jama.2020.24865
Create a personal account or sign in to: