COVID-19 was the second leading cause of death for all Americans last month, but for one group in particular, it hit even harder. According to a new report from the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Peterson Center on Healthcare cited by ABC News, the virus killed 1,899 people daily in the US, on average, in September, surpassed only by heart disease, which saw an average daily death toll of 2,078. Cancer came in third, with 1,636. But for individuals in the 35- to 54-year-old demographic, COVID ranked as the No. 1 cause of death, killing more people in that group than in any other month of the pandemic.
The analysis notes that COVID had been the No. 1 cause of death in the US in December 2020 and early this year, before falling to seventh place by July. However, the report points to the delta variant, lagging vaccination rates, and the relaxing of safety and health protocols across the country as factors in a renewed spike. Kaiser estimates that 90,000 COVID deaths from June through September might have been prevented with vaccinations, per USA Today. "Most of these preventable deaths occurred in the last month, well after vaccines became available," the report says, adding: "The overwhelming majority of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths continue to be preventable." (Read more COVID-19 stories.)