Healthcare Economy

COVID-19 Deaths Pass Annual Alzheimer's Deaths

COVID-19 deaths in America have hit 121,766. Alzheimer’s deaths, based on the most recent data, reached 121,404 over the course of a year. The first U.S. COVID-19 fatality occurred on February 6, just over 19 weeks ago. The numbers show how rapid the novel coronavirus has spread. Based on forecast models, COVID-19 deaths may reach well above 200,000 in the United States this year.

The universe of the total number of Americans who suffer from Alzheimer’s is 5.8 million, but not all people with the disease have been diagnosed. The care for these people is estimated at $244 billion a year. The disease is the sixth-largest killer of Americans.

By contrast, no one knows how many people in the United States have had COVID-19 or have it now. The official number is 2,295,615. However, the testing level remains low. Many people who have mild symptoms may not report them. Among all people affected, 40% to 45% may never show any symptoms, according to the Annals of Internal Medicine. That could put total U.S. cases thus far above 3.3 million.

Another major difference between the two diseases is that Alzheimer’s patients can live and require constant care for years. COVID-19 can kill in days and, in most cases, a matter of weeks. Additionally, Alzheimer’s patients never recover. In the United States, 714,961 people with COVID-19 have recovered so far.

COVID-19 deaths already have passed several of America’s top 10 annual fatal deaths based on Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data. These are intentional self-harm (suicide) at 47,173; nephritis, nephrotic syndrome and nephrosis at 50,633; influenza and pneumonia at 55,672 and diabetes at 83,564. COVID-19 in 2020 very likely will move ahead of the annual deaths of others on the list of top 10 fatal diseases. These include stroke (cerebrovascular diseases) at 146,383, chronic lower respiratory diseases at 160,201 and accidents (unintentional injuries) at 169,936. That will put COVID-19 deaths this year at behind only the top two causes of death per year: cancer at 599,108 and heart disease at 647,457.

COVID-19, a disease that probably entered the United States after the first of 2020, will become one of the largest killers in America.