COLORADO SPRINGS — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported COVID-19 as the third leading cause of death in the U.S. in 2021.

Citing two Morbitiy and Mortality Reports released Friday, the CDC said there is a clear need for “greater effort to implement effective interventions.”

The first report provides an overview of provisional U.S. mortality data for 2021, including a comparison of death rates for all causes of death and for deaths involving COVID-19. The study found that the overall age-adjusted death rate increased by almost 1% in 2021 from 2020. Overall death rates were highest among non-Hispanic American Indian/Alaskan Native and non-Hispanic Black or African American people. For the second year, COVID-19 was the third leading cause of death after heart disease and cancer. 

The second report shows that from 2020 to 2021, differences in COVID-19 death rates decreased among most racial and ethnic groups. This report found disparities in the age-adjusted COVID-19 death rates decreased by 14%–40% for most racial and ethnic groups, including non-Hispanic White people, who accounted for 60%–65% of all people who died; and increased non-significantly (7.2%) for non-Hispanic Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander persons (0.2%–0.3% of people who died) compared with non-Hispanic multiracial people. 

The CDC says the U.S. must work to ensure equal treatment in all communities in proportion to their need for effective interventions that can prevent excess COVID-19 deaths.