Mortality numbers in the U.S. for COVID-19 – by August – have already surpassed the total number of preventable, accidental deaths in the country in 2018, the most recent year of final data, according to the National Safety Council.
The latest data reveals the number of confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. now exceeds 170,000, more than the 167,127 preventable deaths the nation saw in 2018.
If this pace continues, COVID-19 will be the third leading cause of death in 2020, falling just behind heart disease and cancer.
This would also mark the first time since 2016 that preventable deaths – including drug overdoses, motor vehicle crashes and falls – would not be the third leading cause of death in the U.S., an NSC news release states.
While this data is preliminary, it “clearly illustrates the scale of the pandemic. In a little more than six months, COVID-19 has claimed more lives than accidental drug overdoses, motor vehicle crashes and falls combined during 2018.”
The coronavirus has also impacted preventable deaths with “increases in opioid overdose and motor vehicle fatality rates as an indirect consequence of the pandemic.”
NSC is urging the public to continue to follow public health guidance around facial coverings, physical distancing and proper hygiene, and reminds employers to ensure their employees return to work at traditional work environments safely.
The organization offers guidance and materials related to re-opening workplaces through its SAFER initiative website.