COVID-19 was the third-leading cause of death in the U.S. last year, CDC finds

MADISON, Wis. — For the second straight year, COVID-19 was the third-leading cause of death in the United States in 2021, data released Friday by the CDC found.

Only heart disease and cancer killed more Americans in 2021, according to the CDC’s numbers.

The country’s overall age-adjusted death rate increased by almost 1% compared to 2020. Death rates were highest among the non-Hispanic American Indian/Alaskan Native and non-Hispanic Black or African American populations, according to the CDC.

Numbers from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services indicate there were 5,866 confirmed or probable deaths due to COVID-19 in the state in 2021.

More than 14,400 people in the state have died from confirmed or probable cases since the start of the pandemic, with 27.8 percent of those people being between 80 and 89 years old. Another 24.6 percent of the state’s COVID-related deaths have been people between the ages of 70 and 79.

COVID-19 deaths have affected younger groups, too, with a total of 465 people between the ages of 40 and 49 and 175 people between the ages of 30 and 39 dying of confirmed or probable COVID-19 related reasons since state health officials began tracking data. Another 1,155 people between the ages of 50 and 59 also died.

In Dane County, a total of 475 people have died during the pandemic.

RELATED: Dane Co. moves up to ‘medium’ COVID-19 spread, health officials urge boosters to keep hospitalizations low

On Friday, health officials announced Dane County had crept back up to “medium” levels of COVID-19 spread in the community due to an increase in the number of recent cases, but hospitalizations and deaths remained low and had not increased at the same rate, crediting the county’s high vaccination rate.