U.S. Life Expectancy Plummets To 25 Year Low Due To COVID, Drug Overdoses

The average life expectancy for Americans fell to a 25-year low, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. An American born in 2021 is expected to live until they are 76.4 years old.

That is down over two years from 2019 when life expectancy stood at 78.8 years.

Officials said that the decline is due to the coronavirus pandemic and a growing number of drug overdoses. COVID was the third leading cause of death in the United States, behind heart disease and cancer. The percentage of COVID deaths jumped from 2020 to 2021, accounting for one-in-eight deaths in the country.

“What we’re seeing in terms of the patterns of mortality, it’s being driven, I think, largely by the pandemic,” said Robert Anderson, chief of mortality statistics at the National Center for Health Statistics.

Drug overdose deaths hit record levels in 2021, as nearly 107,000 people died of a drug overdose. That marks a 14% increase in one year and a 50% increase over the past two years.

“These data are very tragic but not surprising,” said Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, according to CNN. “The pandemic had a magnifying effect on an already-devastating overdose crisis and exacerbated many of the stressors in society that make people more vulnerable to taking drugs.”

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