Covid-19 was third leading cause of death in the United States in 2021, CDC reports

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(CNN) -- Covid-19 was the third leading cause of death in the United States in 2021, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Friday. For the second consecutive year, it was third after heart disease and cancer.

One study released in CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly report showed the overall age-adjusted death rate for all causes increased by nearly 1% from 2020 to 2021. The data is still provisional, and based on data from CDC's National Vital Statistics System.

A second report also showed that that differences in Covid-19 death rates decreased among most racial and ethnic groups. Disparities decreased by 14% to 40% for most groups, CDC said.

"The results of both studies highlight the need for greater effort to implement effective interventions," the agency said in a statement. "We must work to ensure equal treatment in all communities in proportion to their need for effective interventions that can prevent excess COVID-19 deaths."

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