What You Need to Know
- Kidney disease kills about 13,000 U.S. residents every three months.
- Diabetes kills about 22,000 U.S. residents per quarter.
- Prudential and Unum are both expecting COVID-19 to kill more than 30,000 people in the third quarter.
Prudential Financial and Unum Group are assuming in their earnings forecasts that COVID-19 will continue to be a leading cause of death in the United States in the third quarter.
Prudential’s earning forecast for the third quarter includes 30,000 U.S. COVID-19-related deaths.
Unum assumes that COVID-19 will kill 40,000 U.S. residents in both the third quarter of the year and the fourth quarter.
Executives from the companies talked about those assumptions this week during conference calls with securities analysts. The companies held the calls to go over earnings for the second quarter, which ended June 30.
COVID-19 has killed about 615,000 people in the United States since March 2020.
The pandemic caused about 200,000 U.S. deaths in the first quarter of this year, and about 52,000 U.S. deaths in the second quarter.
COVID-19 still trails the 1918-1919 flu pandemic as a cause of U.S. deaths. The 1918-1919 flu pandemic killed 675,000 people in the United States, at a time when the country had a population of just 100 million.
Here are the U.S. death toll estimates for other famous pandemics:
- Asian Flu (1957-1958): 69,800 deaths
- Hong Kong Flu (1968): 33,800 deaths
- H1N1 (2009): 12,469 deaths
Life and health insurers have been expressing relief that the COVID-19 death toll in the second quarter was much milder than the death toll in the first quarter.
If COVID-19 killed a total of 82,000 Americans in the second quarter and third quarter of this year, the U.S. death toll just for that period would exceed the death toll for any modern-era pandemic other than the 1918-1919 flu pandemic.
Leading Cause of Death Comparisons
If COVID-19 kills 30,000 Americans this quarter, that will make it one of the top eight causes of death in the United States during that period.
Here are the top seven causes of death in the United States, and an estimate of the number of U.S. deaths associated with each of those causes per quarter.
- Heart Disease: 165,000 deaths
- Cancer: 150,000 deaths
- Accidents: 43,000 deaths
- Chronic Lung Diseases: 39,000 deaths
- Stroke: 38,000 deaths
- Alzheimer’s Disease: 30,000 deaths
- Diabetes: 22,000 deaths
These figures mean that, if Prudential’s death toll prediction is correct, COVID-19 could kill more Americans than diabetes this quarter.