The U.S. death rate increased by 15 percent last year as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, making it the deadliest year in recorded U.S. history, the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will announce, according to two senior administration officials with direct knowledge of the matter.

POLITICO says the agency will summarize its findings in an upcoming issue of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.  Its analysis will detail the rates at which U.S. residents of various races and ethnicities died as a result of the virus as well as the total number of deaths in each demographic group.

Covid-19 was the third leading cause of death behind heart disease and cancer, the report found. “Unintentional injuries” is normally the third-leading cause of death, officials said.

Altogether more than 3 million people in the U.S. died in 2020, the agency found.

The upcoming report will mark the first time the agency has publicly acknowledged that the national death rate spiked last year and that Covid-19 played a role in the increase.  According to CDC data, the 2020 increase is the largest since 1918 — when, in the midst of World War I, hundreds of thousands of people died of a flu.  By comparison, the death rate decreased in 2019 by 1.2 percent compared to the 2018 toll.