COVID Death Toll Declined in 2022: Report

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In one of the first looks at how 2022 COVID-19 data compares to prior pandemic years, the virus appears to have been much less deadly.

COVID-19 accounted for about 270,000 deaths in 2022, according to death totals compiled by Johns Hopkins University. That’s down from 473,000 in 2021, and 350,000 in the pandemic’s first year.

The toll will land COVID-19 as the third-leading cause of death for 2022 in the United States for the third year in a row, CNN reported, adding that the numbers may be adjusted as reporting and death certificates are finalized. (Heart disease is the No. 1 cause of death, followed by cancer, according to the CDC.)

Since the start of the pandemic, COVID-19 has caused 1.1 million deaths in the U.S., according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. There have been 101 million cases of COVID, which means that 1 out of every 100 of people infected have died since the pandemic began.

As of Jan. 12, the U.S. is averaging 564 COVID-19 deaths per day, according to Johns Hopkins, compared to 2,058 per day 1 year ago and 3,300 per day 2 years ago. Hospitalizations now average 42,023 daily, whereas 1 year ago, the average was 157,678 per day.

When looking at declining death rates and severity of COVID-19, health officials point to research that shows vaccinations and boosters prevent severe COVID-19 infection that can lead to hospitalization and death. About 81% of the U.S. population has received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose, and 16% have received the most updated booster shot, the CDC’s tracker shows.


Johns Hopkins University: “Number of Daily Deaths,” “COVID-19 Dashboard by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University (JHU),” as of Jan. 17, 2023.

CNN: “Covid-19 killed fewer people in the US in 2022, but early data suggests it was still a leading cause of death.”

CDC: “Leading Causes of Death,” “Impact of Vaccination on Risk of COVID-19-Related Mortality,” “COVID-19 Vaccinations in the United States.”

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