The August 17 seven-day average for COVID-19 deaths was 615 per day, down from 3,245 a day in early January. This comes as the highly contagious Delta variant becomes the dominant COVID-19 strain. More Americans are dying from COVID-19 than earlier this summer, which recorded a low of 246 deaths per day on July 3.
States with higher COVID-19 death rates since July are likely to be less vaccinated than the US overall.
The daily COVID-19 death rate in the US has been six deaths per 100,000 people since July 1. Seventeen states have death rates above the national average, with Arkansas topping the list at 21 deaths per 100,000 people per day. All but two of those states — Delaware and Florida — have vaccination rates lower than the country as a whole.
The racial and ethnic groups most affected by COVID-19 deaths varied by wave.
The non-Hispanic Black population has the highest weekly death rate during the first wave of the pandemic, peaking at 11 deaths per 100,000 people in April.
The deadliest wave of the pandemic is still between December and January, when weekly death rates peaked for all racial and ethnic groups except for the non-Hispanic Black population. In December, non-Hispanic American Indians and Alaska Natives had the highest weekly death rate at 13 deaths per 100,000.
By early July, death rates for all groups trended downward. The rate has since increased, but as of the first week of August, all groups had a weekly rate of one death or less per 100,000 people.
Native Americans have had the highest COVID-19 death rate since the pandemic began.
Throughout the pandemic, Native Americans have been hit the hardest relative to their population size. While non-Hispanic American Indian and Alaska Native people account for 1% of all COVID-19 deaths, the group had the highest death rate at 284 deaths for every 100,000 people. Non-Hispanic Asian Americans have a death rate of 123 deaths for every 100,000 people, the lowest among racial and ethnic groups.
Weekly death rates are down across age ranges since January. The largest decrease is among older Americans.
The number of COVID-19 deaths of people 85 and older fell 97% from a peak of 7,915 during the week ending of January 9 (120 per 100,000 people in the age group) to a low of 263 the week of June 26 (four per 100,000 people in the group). Younger groups had smaller decreases in deaths. For example, the number of COVID-19 deaths among those 35 to 44 fell 82% from 401 during January to 176 in June. Deaths per week have increased across all age groups since June.
Older Americans still make up most COVID-19 deaths, though they account for a smaller share than earlier in the pandemic. During the first quarter of 2021, people 65 and older accounted for 79% of the 191,232 COVID-19 deaths. Their share fell to 67% in the second quarter, with 28,097 of the 42,231 people who died of COVID-19 in the age range. During the same period, the share of COVID-19 deaths among those 45 to 64 years old increased from 18% to 28%.
The share of COVID-19 deaths involving people 65 and older is decreasing.