Reports recently appeared on some websites that COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, is now the leading cause of death in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta disputes that claim, however.
"There are no data to support that theory," Jeff Lancashire, a spokesman for the National Center for Health Statistics, told CNN in an email Friday.
» Coronavirus in Georgia: stats in real time
The problem, Lancashire said, is that reported COVID-19 deaths are being compared to estimated deaths from cancer and heart disease.
According to a global tracking map, there are 501,680 confirmed cases in the U.S., with at least 18,781 deaths.
"According to a graph published Tuesday by Dr. Maria Danilychev, who practices in San Diego, COVID-19 is the cause of 1,970 deaths in the U.S. per day. Just last week, COVID-19 was the third leading cause of death, averaging around 748 deaths per day, but as the virus has continued to spread, the increase in daily deaths have followed. In comparison to COVID-19 fatalities, 1,774 deaths are attributed to heart disease and 1,641 to cancer," Newsweek reported Thursday.
» Complete coverage: Coronavirus
"The graph uses data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for the daily average causes of death and compares them to COVID-19 statistics from Worldometers.info," Newsweek wrote.
But, Lancashire said in his email: "We have limited data on 2020 deaths by cause, and no final official numbers yet for 2019, but we do know by looking at the final death totals in 2018 for the two leading causes of death in the U.S., Heart Disease and Cancer, there is no way that at this point COVID-19 comes anywhere close to those totals.”
Lancashire told CNN that between January and April in 2018, more than 234,000 people in the United States died of heart disease and nearly 199,000 died of cancer.
» Why babies shouldn't wear face masks but older kids should