COVID-19 among top causes of death in 2020, but heart disease still biggest killer


July 6, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — COVID-19 was among the top causes of death in the Philippines last year, but heart disease was still the biggest killer, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority.

Preliminary data from the PSA show that 30,140 people died due to COVID-19 in 2020, accounting for 4.9% of the total registered deaths that year.

Among the 17 regions, Metro Manila logged 13,000 fatalities due to COVID-19 last year or 43.1% of all deaths due to the contagious respiratory disease. Calabarzon came in second with 7,000 deaths and Central Luzon at third with 2,690 deaths.

In Metro Manila, Quezon City reported the highest number of COVID-19 deaths with 2,640 fatalities due to the disease or 20.3% of all COVID-19 deaths in the region. Incidentally, Quezon City had also logged the highest number of COVID-19 cases in Metro Manila.

Ischaemic heart diseases, however, proved to be more fatal than COVID-19 in 2020, topping the list of causes of death with 105,114 people succumbing due to these.

More people died due to heart diseases in 2020 compared to 2019, when only 82,547 people passed away due to these.

Cancer was the second leading cause of death in the Philippines last year, with it taking the lives of 66,179 people, followed by cerebrovascular diseases (64,104 deaths), diabetes mellitus (39,723 deaths), pneumonia (34,251 deaths), and hypertensive diseases (31,610 deaths).

While pneumonia is a common symptom among those with COVID-19, the number of people who died due to it dropped 45.4% in 2020 from 62,720 cases in 2019.

As of Monday, the Department of Health has logged 25,192 people who have died due to COVID-19 — short by around 5,000 compared to the PSA’s tally.

A Flourish chart

The PSA explained the discrepancy by saying that they based their data on death certificates, while DOH based theirs through a surveillance system.

It added that it counted both probable and confirmed COVID-19 cases, while DOH only counts confirmed cases.


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