NEW YORK (AP) — This is the deadliest year in U.S. history, with deaths expected to top 3 million for the first time — due mainly to the coronavirus pandemic.
Final mortality data for this year will not be available for months.
But preliminary numbers suggest that the United States is on track to see more than 3.2 million deaths this year, or at least 400,000 more than in 2019.
U.S. deaths increase most years, so some annual rise in fatalities is expected.
But the 2020 numbers amount to a jump of about 15%, and could go higher once all the deaths from this month are counted.
That would mark the largest single-year percentage leap since 1918, when tens of thousands of U.S. soldiers died in World War I and hundreds of thousands of Americans died in a flu pandemic. Deaths rose 46% that year, compared with 1917.
COVID-19 has killed more than 318,000 Americans and counting. Before it came along, there was reason to be hopeful about U.S. death trends.