The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has found that the United States saw a remarkable surge in the death rates for heart disease and diabetes in 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic affected the whole world.

Experts believe that most people with dangerous symptoms of heart disease and diabetes made a grave lethal mistake by not visiting the hospital, probably due to fear of catching the deadly coronavirus.

The U.S. death rates add to the growing concerns over the number of people who died directly or indirectly to the COVID-19, which is much greater than the officially reported coronavirus death toll of more than 600,000 since the pandemic began.

Researchers say that 2020 was the deadliest year in the history of the United States because of COVID-19. However, the new CDC data released this week has shown the biggest increases in the death rates for heart disease and diabetes.

Dialectologist Dr. Tannaz Moin of the University of California, Los Angeles, said of the trends, “I would probably use the word ‘alarming,’” according to NBC News.

Apart from heart disease and diabetes, other potential killers were Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s, chronic liver disease, stroke, and high blood pressure.”

However, the CDC did not explain the current statistics. Some experts believe one of the big reasons is that most patients did not visit ER because of the fear of catching the COVID-19 infection.

Dr. Donald Lloyd-Jones of Northwestern University said, “When hospitalization rates for COVID would go up, we would see dramatic declines in patients presenting to the emergency room with heart attacks, stroke or heart failure.”

Another possible explanation is “many patients stopped taking care of themselves during the crisis, gaining weight or cutting back on taking high blood pressure medications,” said Dr. Lloyd-Jones, who serves as president-elect of the American Heart Association (AHA).

Some experts said pandemic-related stress, lack of lockdown-related exercise options, and unemployment are a few contributing factors.

Meanwhile, the U.S. death rate from cancer, the #2 killer, continued to decline in 2020. It declined about 2% in 2020, similar to the fall seen from 2018 to 2019.

Talking about the decline in the death rate from cancer, Dr. Lloyd-Jones said most coronavirus victims were fighting cancer, “but COVID intervened and became the primary cause of death.” The article was published on NBC News.