This is the deadliest year in U.S. history — the number of deaths is expected to exceed 3 million for the first time, mostly due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The final death toll for this year will not be clear for several months. But preliminary figures show that the United States will see more than 3.2 million deaths this year, or at least 400,000 more than in 2019.
U.S. deaths have been increasing over the past few years, so some annual increase in deaths is expected. But the 2020 numbers represent a jump of about 15 percent and could rise because those who died from the coronavirus have not yet been counted.
This would be the largest percentage increase in a year since 1918, when tens of thousands of U.S. soldiers died in World War I and hundreds of thousands of Americans died as a result of the flu pandemic. Deaths that year were up 46 percent from 1917.
COVID-19 killed more than 318,000 Americans, and the number continues to rise, while deaths from other causes have also increased. Life expectancy in 2020 could drop by as much as three full years, said Robert Anderson of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.