Coronavirus Becomes Number One Cause of Death Per Day in U.S., Surpassing Heart Disease and Cancer

COVID-19, the illness caused by the novel coronavirus, is now the deadliest disease in the United States, killing more people per day than cancer or heart disease.

According to a graph published Tuesday by Dr. Maria Danilychev, who practices in San Diego, COVID-19 is the cause of 1,970 deaths in the U.S. per day. Just last week, COVID-19 was the third leading cause of death, averaging around 748 deaths per day, but as the virus has continued to spread, the increase in daily deaths have followed. In comparison to COVID-19 fatalities, 1,774 deaths are attributed to heart disease and 1,641 to cancer.

The graph uses data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for the daily average causes of death and compares them to COVID-19 statistics from

The statistics presented in the graph comes as the novel coronavirus has continued to spread throughout the U.S. and the world. According to a tracker provided by Johns Hopkins University, there are over 432,000 cases in the U.S. and over 1.4 million cases globally.

Danilychev's graph offers a time-lapse feature to show how the number of COVID-19 deaths per day has increased over the past few weeks. Prior to March 20, COVID-19 had the lowest number of daily deaths compared to other causes listed, averaging about 50 per day.

On March 22, the virus's daily death rate began to surge, passing flu and pneumonia, kidney disease, suicide, and liver disease. By the end of March, COVID-19 deaths per day were the third-highest.

As the coronavirus continues to spread across the U.S., many have speculated how many deaths it will cause over an extended period of time. Initial projections from the White House Coronavirus Task Force, led by Dr. Deborah Birx and Dr. Anthony Fauci were between 100,000 and 240,000 U.S. deaths. These projections have recently decreased in a model produced by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington in Seattle (IHME). On April 8, the IHME estimated 60,415 U.S. deaths related to the coronavirus.

During a recent White House press briefing, Birx explained that the decreasing projections are a correlation to how American citizens have been following social distancing measures.

"What has been so remarkable, I think, to those of us that have been in the science field for so long is how important behavioral change is," Birx said. "And how amazing Americans are at adapting to and following through on these behavioral changes."

Coronavirus in U.S.
Response coordinator for White House Coronavirus Task Force Deborah Birx speaks as she points a graphic during the daily briefing on the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, in the Brady Briefing Room at the White House on March 31, 2020, in Washington, DC. Mandel Ngan/Getty

Globally, over 1.4 million people globally have been infected with COVID-19, and over 89,000 have died. In the U.S., there have been at least 14,808 reported deaths related to the virus. On the other hand, over 24,000 have recovered from the virus in the U.S. and at least 337,074 have recovered worldwide.