Nearly 99% of the COVID-19 deaths reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last week were not primarily caused by the coronavirus, new data shows.
The data changes somewhat for New York, where 2.1% of COVID-19 deaths had the virus as the primary cause.
Florida and Maryland have the highest COVID-19 death rates at 3.4%, followed by Washington at 2.4%, while Tennessee and North Carolina each reported 2% — behind New York but above the state average.
This is a striking difference from the peak of the pandemic in 2021, when 30% of COVID-19-related deaths cited the virus as the primary cause.
The primary cause of death is defined as the condition, injury, illness, situation, or event that started the chain of events that led to a person’s death.
The CDC has not reported the primary cause of death in cases where COVID-19 was the secondary factor, but agency data shows that cancer and heart disease remain the leading causes of death nationwide.
Weekly COVID-19 deaths are at their lowest since March 2020, according to CDC data.
But the number of coronavirus cases has recently skyrocketed across the country — New York reported a 55% spike in early August.
The surge came as a new variant – dubbed EG.5, or Eris – emerged as the dominant strain, causing about 17% of COVID cases nationwide.
As new variants continue to emerge, health experts fear we are unprepared – especially for the worst-case scenario.
New York City Health and Mental Health Commissioner Ashwin Vasan and other public health experts are encouraging people to get the updated booster shot once it becomes available in late September.