Any death from COVID-19 is one too many. As public health professionals and public servants, we want Arizonans to have the information they need to protect themselves, including the facts on COVID-19’s death toll.

One of our core functions at ADHS is providing data and systematic analysis, based on generally accepted standards for accuracy and context, through our annual vital statistics reporting. While our final report on 2020 statistics has been delayed due to delays in receiving updated population figures from the U.S. Census Bureau, the 2020 Advanced Vital Statistics Report is available online.

The 2020 Advanced Vital Statistics Report, which maintains the same approach used for decades and is based on the underlying cause of death (primary cause of death) as shown on the death certificate, shows that COVID-19 was Arizona’s third-leading cause of death in 2020 behind heart disease and cancer. You also can review the data sources we use. 

We expect the official 2020 vital statistics, including rates, to be released in the coming weeks. 

I hope these sobering numbers reinforce not just the toll COVID-19 has taken in this state but the continuing toll on Arizonans from heart disease and cancer. We provide this information to help everyone make healthy choices. 

In the case of COVID-19, healthy choices include getting vaccinated, getting a booster dose, and following mitigation strategies such as masking up and maintaining physical distance around those you don’t live with, staying home if you are sick, and frequent handwashing.

According to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), unvaccinated people are 6.1 times more likely to test positive for COVID-19 than fully vaccinated people and 11.3 times more likely to die from COVID-19. That’s what we mean by vaccination protecting you as well as your family, friends, and community.