New York (AP) —This year is the worst year in US history, with the death toll expected to exceed 3 million for the first time, primarily due to a coronavirus pandemic.
Final mortality data for this year will not be available for several months. However, tentative figures suggest that the United States is on track to kill more than 3.2 million people this year, or at least 400,000 more than in 2019.
Before the coronavirus pandemic, there was reason to expect a mortality trend in the United States.
Deaths in the United States increase most of the year, so deaths are expected to increase somewhat each year. However, the number in 2020 will reach a surge of about 15%, which could be even higher when counting all deaths this month.
This will be the biggest leap in a year since 1918, when World War I killed tens of thousands of American soldiers and the flu pandemic killed hundreds of thousands of Americans. The death toll that year increased by 46% compared to 1917.
COVID-19 killed more than 318,000 Americans. Before that happened, there was reason to hope for the US death trend.
Coronavirus latest information: The United States surpasses 18 million COVID-19 cases due to an increase in new cases and deaths daily
Due to the reduction in deaths from heart disease and cancer, the overall national mortality rate in 2019 fell slightly. Life expectancy has also increased for the second consecutive year (weeks), according to death certificate data released by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Tuesday.
However, life expectancy in 2020 could drop by as much as three years, said Robert Anderson of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The CDC counted 2,854,838 US deaths last year. This is about 16,000 more than in 2018. This is pretty good news. Deaths usually increase by about 20,000 to 50,000 each year, mainly due to the aging of the country and growing population.
In fact, the age-adjusted mortality rate fell by about 1% in 2019, and life expectancy increased by about 6 weeks to 78.8 years, the CDC reported.
“As the situation progressed, it was actually a pretty good year for mortality,” said Anderson, who oversees the CDC’s mortality statistics.
The US coronavirus epidemic, both directly and indirectly, is a major contributor to this year’s death.
The virus was first identified in China last year and the first case reported in the United States this year. However, it is the third leading cause of death after heart disease and cancer. For a particular period of the year, COVID-19 was the number one killer.
However, some other types of death are also on the rise.
The surge in pneumonia cases earlier this year may have been deaths from COVID-19, which was not so recognized early in the epidemic. However, there are also unexpected deaths from certain types of heart and cardiovascular disease, diabetes and dementia, Anderson said.
Many of them may also be related to COVID. The virus may have weakened patients already suffering from those conditions or weakened the care they were receiving, he said.
In the early days of the epidemic, there was optimism that when people stopped driving to work or social events, the number of fatalities from car accidents would decrease. There is no data on that yet, but case reports suggest that there was no such decline.
Anderson et al. Decreased suicide deaths in 2019 compared to 2018, but early information suggests that they have not continued to decline this year.
On the other hand, deaths from drug overdose were exacerbated.
Even before the arrival of the coronavirus, the United States was in the midst of the most deadly drug overdose epidemic in its history.
All data for 2020 are not yet available. But last week, the CDC reported more than 81,000 drug overdose deaths in the 12 months to May, the highest number ever in a year.
Experts believe that a pandemic disruption of face-to-face treatment and recovery services may have been a factor. People are also more likely to be taking the drug alone, without the benefit of friends and family who can call 911 or administer drugs that reverse overdose.
But perhaps the bigger factor is the drug itself. Experts said COVID-19 caused supply problems for dealers, so they are mixing increasingly cheap and deadly fentanyl with heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine.
“I don’t think there are many new people who suddenly start taking drugs because of COVID. If anything, I think the supply of people who are already taking drugs is more polluted,” said the drug. Shannon Monato, a researcher at Syracuse University who studies overdose trends, said.
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