CDC: 2021 Was the Deadliest Year in US History
Life expectancy increased every year in the United States, with very few exceptions. That was until 2020, when it dropped. Now, 2021 is making that a trend.
Latest figures released by the US Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revealed that 2021 was the deadliest year in US history, with over 3,465,000 deaths - roughly 80,000 more than 2020, which had been the deadliest year in US history to date.
The Center of Disease Control (CDC) reported 2,854,838 deaths in 2019, the year before the pandemic started.
COVID-19 is the main perpetrator for the alarming stat, with 415,000 covid-related deaths in 2021 compared to 351,000 in 2020. Cancer, diabetes, liver disease and strokes were also up, as were drug overdoses.
The total number of deaths typically rises every year on account of the growing US population; however, 2020 and 2021 are the first years that saw both deaths and death rates grow.
Life expectancy is also dropping: the CDC lowered the life expectancy for Americans at the end of 2020, putting it 1.5 years lower than in 2019. The CDC has not released its life expectancy numbers for 2021 yet, but according to the Associated Press, experts predict that it will drop by another six months.
In total, that means the life expectancy of Americans has dropped two years in two years.
In a study that looked at life expectancy of high income countries, officials found the US fared far worse than its contemporaries such as England, France and South Korea. The 19 other countries looked at by the study had their life expectancy drop only 0.4 years in 2020, but then rebounded 0.28 years in 2021.
The difference is likely due to low vaccination rates in some areas, as well as hesitancy to adhere to preventative COVID-19 measures, such as wearing masks and social distancing.
Things don’t appear to be back to normal in 2022, either. Preliminary data indicate that the US experienced 805,000 deaths in the first three months of 2022, down from the same time period in 2021 but up from the first three months in 2020, before the pandemic began.
With lingering effects of COVID-19 leading to long term health issues and climate change expected to get worse, it is possible that life expectancy never returns to pre-pandemic levels in the US.