Covid Helped Pull Down U.S. Lifespans by Most in 75 Years
(Bloomberg) -- Life expectancy in the US dropped by the most in more than 75 years in 2020, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as the Covid-19 pandemic spread across the country.
The disease caused by the coronavirus was the third-leading cause of death in 2020, behind only heart disease and cancer, the CDC said in a report released Wednesday examining annual mortality numbers in the U.S.
Overall, life expectancy declined to 77 years, a drop of 1.8 years from 2019, the CDC said. The fall was “largely because of increases in mortality due to Covid-19, unintentional injuries, heart disease, homicide, and diabetes,” according to the agency’s report. Unintentional injuries include those from falls, auto accidents and poisoning.
About 3.4 million deaths were registered in the U.S. last year, almost 529,000 more than in 2019, the CDC said. Covid-19 was listed as the underlying cause in 10% of the deaths.
The overall death rate across ethnic groups rose 17%, the largest single-year rise since the government started making annual mortality data available, to 835 per 100,000. Those 35 to 44 years old saw the death rate climb 25% to 248 per 100,000.
Death rates rose the most for Hispanic males, 42.7%, and 32.4% for Hispanic females. They rose 28.0% for non-Hispanic Black males and 24.9% for non-Hispanic Black females. That compared to 13.4% for non-Hispanic White males, and 12.1% for non-Hispanic White females.
One improvement was the rate of infant mortality, which saw a decrease last year from 2019 of 2.9% to 542 per 100,000 live births. Within those numbers, sudden infant death syndrome contributed to more deaths in 2020 than the year before while infant deaths from low birth weight fell.
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