Coronavirus deaths in the United States last year fueled a rise in the nation’s mortality rate for the first time since 2017, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a report this week. In 2020, more than 3.3 million people died in the United States, the CDC said, in what was the nation’s highest annual death toll in its history.

The agency analyzed death certificate data from last year and found that covid-19 was the underlying or contributing cause of more than 377,000 U.S. fatalities — making it the third-leading cause of death in the United States after heart disease and cancer.
Here are some significant developments:
  • New data from the ongoing trial of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine has reinforced early results showing its high efficacy and there are also indications it is effective against the more virulent South African variant.
  • The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention again urged Americans not to let their guard down, noting a 12 percent increase in the seven-day average for new coronavirus cases and rising hospitalizations.
  • Johnson & Johnson acknowledged that a Baltimore plant run by Emergent BioSolutions mixed up two vaccines’ ingredients for a batch of doses, estimated at about 15 million, that had to be discarded.
  • Peter Navarro urged President Donald Trump to acquire critical medical supplies in the early days of the outbreak and after the warning was ignored, pursued his own ad hoc billion-dollar strategy that has since prompted multiple probes.
  • France announced a new national lockdown, the most severe since last spring, for the next four weeks, amid spiking cases and a slow vaccine rollout.
  • More than 30 million cases have been reported domestically, while the total number of fatalities in the United States reached 552,000. Nearly 98 million people have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine in the United States.