Some Much-Needed Coronavirus Perspective

“On its own, 3,000 fatalities might seem like a tremendously large number. But that’s before you learn that an average of 7,700 people die in the U.S. every single day. Which means that over the past week, when the coronavirus took 2,000 lives, nearly 54,000 people died from other causes.

As a service to readers, here are recent annual deaths from other causes, many of which go largely unnoticed year by year, but most of which are preventable. (The data are compiled from the National Center for Health Statistics, the National Safety Council, and other sources.)

  • 1,900: strep throat
  • 3,000: food poisoning
  • 5,000: choking
  • 6,946: accidental hanging
  • 7,450: pedestrians hit by a car
  • 7,740: obesity
  • 12,316: pregnancy-related
  • 20,108: inflammation resulting from food or liquids getting into the lungs
  • 35,000: antibiotic-resistant bacteria
  • 35,823: alcohol-induced deaths
  • 36,336: falls
  • 40,922: blood poisoning resulting from bacteria
  • 47,173: suicide
  • 55,672: flu and pneumonia
  • 64,795: accidental poisoning
  • 83,564: diabetes
  • 121,404: Alzheimer’s
  • 160,201: chronic lower respiratory disease
  • 169,936: all accidental deaths
  • 250,000: medical errors
  • 599,108: cancer
  • 647,457: heart disease”

I & I Editorial Board, “Some Much-Needed Coronavirus Perspective,”  Issues & Insights, 3/31/2020.


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