Photo by Mufid Majnun on Unsplash

Staff reports | For the second year in a row, COVID-19 was the third leading cause of death after heart disease and cancer, according to a report from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Two reports released last Friday used the CDC’s National Vital Statistics System to look at death rates in the U.S. in 2021, finding gaps still remain in the COVID-19 death rates between certain racial and ethnic minority groups. One report provides an overview of provisional mortality data for the year, while the second shows differences in death rates decreased among most groups. 

The first report 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. The second report found disparities in 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 by (7.2%) for non-Hispanic Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander persons compared with non-Hispanic multiracial people.

“The results of both studies highlight the need for greater effort to implement effective interventions,” the CDC said in an April 22 press release. “We must work to ensure equal treatment in all communities in proportion to their need for effective interventions that can prevent excess COVID-19 deaths.”

Latest COVID-19 data

In South Carolina, the state Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) transitioned to weekly reporting of new COVID data last month, with last Tuesday’s update being the most recent of reports including data taken from April 10-16.

State health officials on Tuesday reported 1,521 total new cases of COVID-19, with 996 confirmed, and seven total new deaths, six of which were confirmed. As of April 18, 90 COVID-19-positive individuals are hospitalized, and nine COVID-19-positive individuals are ventilated.

No positivity rate was reported by DHEC.

  • Percentage of S.C. residents age 12+ with at least one vaccine: 67.1%
  • Percentage of S.C. residents age 12+ who have completed vaccination: 58%
  • Percentage of S.C. residents age 5-11 with at least one vaccine: 20.2%
  • Percentage of S.C. residents age 5-11 who have completed vaccination: 16.4%

For more information, visit the S.C. SCDHEC COVID-19 dashboard.

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