2021 set to overtake last year as country’s deadliest country

The CDC also revised its estimate of life expectancy for 2020 this week. Life expectancy at birth that year was 77 years, down 1.8 years from 2019. agency had previously estimated the decline at 1.5 years.

Anderson said it is likely the country will experience more than 3.4 million deaths in 2021. Other experts said they believe the deaths for the year will end up being about the same as in 2020, or later.

“It’s really sad,” said Ali Mokdad, an expert in mortality statistics at the University of Washington.

One of the main reasons is COVID-19, which hit the United States hard around March 2020 and became the third leading cause of death in the country, behind heart disease and cancer.

Last year, COVID-19 was the underlying cause of around 351,000 deaths. This year the number is already 356,000, and the final tally could reach 370,000, Anderson said.

Experts also believe that the 2021 figures will be affected by a drug overdose epidemic that is – for the first time – expected to exceed 100,000 deaths in a calendar year.

An increase in annual deaths is not unusual. The annual number increased by almost 16,000 from 2018 to 2019 – before the onset of COVID-19.

But the coronavirus has clearly had an impact. The nation had the lowest rate of population growth in history between July 2020 and July 2021, mainly due to deaths from COVID-19, said Kenneth Johnson, a researcher at the University of New Hampshire.

Officials hoped COVID-19 vaccines would reduce the number of deaths. But vaccines have become available gradually this year, with only 7 million fully vaccinated at the end of January and 63 million at the end of March.

Since then, many Americans have chosen not to be vaccinated. The CDC says 204 million Americans are fully immunized, or about 65% of the U.S. population aged 5 and over eligible for vaccines.

Indeed, this is largely why deaths from COVID-19 could increase despite the availability of effective vaccines, Mokdad said. The emergence of new, more transmissible variants of the coronavirus has only made the problem worse, he added.

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