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KUNC is among the founding partners of the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration of public media stations that serve the Western states of Colorado, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming.

Coronavirus Likely To Be Third-Leading Cause Of Death In 2020

COVID-19 is set to be one of the leading causes of death across the country this year.

More than 165,000 Americans have died from COVID-19 already in 2020, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. There isn't much else killing Americans at such a high rate.

"Right now, COVID, basically, is going to be the fourth-largest cause of death nationwide," said said Brian Labus, assistant professor of epidemiology and biostatistics at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. "And by the end of August, at the rate we're seeing, it will be the third-leading cause of death, just behind heart disease and cancer."

Labus said in a typical flu season, about 30,000 to 50,000 deaths are attributed to influenza. COVID-19 has already killed more than three times that amount, and the year isn't over yet.

"When we add these last few months of the year in, the numbers are going to be way higher than anything we typically see for influenza," Labus said.

In the Mountain West, COVID-19 is a top-ten killer in four states when comparing COVID deaths this year to the CDC's latest data on the top causes of death in each state.

In Colorado, Nevada and New Mexico, COVID-19 is already the sixth-leading cause of death in 2020. It ranks as No. 9 in Idaho.

This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, KUNR in Nevada, the O'Connor Center for the Rocky Mountain West in Montana, KUNC in Colorado, KUNM in New Mexico, with support from affiliate stations across the region. Funding for the Mountain West News Bureau is provided in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Copyright 2020 KUNR Public Radio. To see more, visit KUNR Public Radio.

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