COVID-19End of life IssuesHealthcare PolicyHuman InterestPreventive Medicine


The CDC just announced the life expectancy of Americans recently dropped to a 25-year low. People born in 2021 have a life expectancy of 76.4 years compared to people born in 2019 who could expect to live 2.4 years longer. That’s a significant decline in just two years. In fact, it was the biggest two-year decline since 1921-1923; a hundred years ago!

Cancer and heart disease remain the leading causes of death, and successful detection and treatment programs led to a gradual lengthening of life expectancy, until 2019. That year, life expectancy saw a sharp decline because of the emergence of COVID-19 and the tragedy of the opioid epidemic plus the increase in the availability of illicit fentanyl. From 2019 to 2020, 74% of the decline was attributed to COVID-19, and in the 2020 to 2021 year, 50% was COVID-19-related. 

The CDC offers no new solutions to the problems, and in fact, predicts things could get worse because of the increase in flu and respiratory virus illnesses, Respiratory Syncytial Virus, RSV, in particular.

One might think these statistics would alarm authorities and motivate them to intercede in the flow of illegal drugs into the U.S., but it has not. The opioid epidemic marches on, and makes me wonder if the “recreational use” (a horrible term) of drugs is far more widespread than statics indicate. Anyway, drug abuse has contributed significantly to shortening of life expectancy, and that’s the definition of a travesty.

Reference: “Life Expectancy in the U.S. Dropped for the second Year in row in 2021”

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