The average life expectancy for Americans shortened by over seven months last year, according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
That decrease follows an already big decline of 1.8 years in 2020. As a result, the expected life span of someone born in the U.S. is now 76.4 years — the shortest it has been in nearly two decades.
The two reports, released by the CDC on Thursday, show deaths from COVID-19 and drug overdoses, most notably synthetic opioids like fentanyl, were the primary drivers of the drop in life expectancy.
“It’s not a good year for the data, let’s put it that way,” says CDC statistician Kenneth Kochanek.
It’s rare to see such big changes in life span year to year, but the pandemic claimed nearly 417,000 lives last year — more than even the year before — making COVID-19 the third leading cause of death for the second consecutive year.
Read more at NPR.org