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(WHNT) – Despite significant hardship, economic fallout, and a nationwide shutdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic… cancer and heart disease were the top two causes of death over the last two years.

According to a study by researchers at the National Cancer Institute, COVID-19 was the third leading cause of death in the United States between March 2020 and October 2021. Data shows the virus accounted for one in eight deaths.

The data found that 350,000 Americans died of COVID-19 from March 2020 to December 2020. During that same period, 580,000 died of heart disease and 501,000 died of cancer.

More than 415,000 people died from COVID in 2021, while about 605,000 people died from cancer and about 693,000 died from heart disease.

From 2020 to 2021, differences in COVID-19 death rates decreased among most racial and ethnic groups but medical professionals say there’s a greater need for equal treatment in all communities to prevent excess COVID-19 deaths.

The study found death rates were the lowest among people ages one through 14, and highest among those ages 85 and older.