2020 deadliest year in US history: Life expectancy plummets by as much as three years

2020 will go down as the – for now – deadliest year in American history. That reports the American news agency AP. The number of deaths will exceed the three million mark for the first time—the culprit: the corona pandemic.

It will be several months before we have the final figures, but preliminary estimates point to more than 3.2 million deaths. That is at least 400,000 more than last year.

We often see that mortality rates are rising compared to the previous year. But not the extent to which they do that: by no less than 15 percent. That could be even more if this month’s figures have also been included.

It has been since 1918 – when tens of thousands of American soldiers were killed in World War I and hundreds of thousands more by the Spanish Flu – that there was such a big jump in statistics in percentage terms. Then there was even an increase of 46 percent.

Life expectancy

The coronavirus has already claimed the lives of more than 318,000 Americans. Before it surfaced, however, there was cause for hope. The rise in the US’s mortality rate fell slightly in 2019, as there were fewer deaths from heart disease and cancer.

There was ‘only’ an increase of 16,000 deaths, which is normally between 20,000 and 50,000 (due to the growing and aging population).

Life expectancy also rose six weeks last year, for the second year in a row, according to figures released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Tuesday. However, life expectancy for 2020 would drop by as much as three years.

The coronavirus is an important driver for this. Out of nowhere, it is the third leading cause of death in the United States in 2020, after cardiovascular disease and cancer. In fact, at certain times of the year, Covid-19 was the leading cause of death.


In addition, several other causes of death also increased, including cardiovascular disease and diabetes. According to the CDC, these could also be linked to the corona pandemic. The virus may have weakened the patients and even cause them to receive less good care.

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