Fewer males died in 2021 from influenza and pneumonia, chronic lower respiratory diseases, cancer, Alzheimer’s, and perinatal conditions.
For females, the decrease was 0.8 years, to 79.1, mostly because of higher deaths rates caused by COVID-19 (51.2%), unintentional injuries (14.8%), heart disease (5.7%), stroke (3.5%), and chronic liver disease and cirrhosis (2.4%).
During that same time, fewer females died from influenza and pneumonia, chronic lower respiratory diseases, Alzheimer’s, perinatal conditions and HIV infection.
“Mortality generally, mainly since the 1950s, has changed rather slowly,” Bob Anderson, chief mortality statistician for the CDC, told CNN. Changes of more than a few tenths of a year have been considered substantial, CNN reported.
Drug overdoses, which fall in the category “unintentional injuries,” accounted for a record 109,000 deaths in 2021.
Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, told CNN the increase wasn’t surprising, but was frustrating.
“It is distressing to see a continuing negative impact of drug overdose on the life expectancy of Americans. These deaths often occur in young adults and therefore represent a tragically high number of years of life lost and devastating impact on individuals, families, and communities,” she told CNN. “We have the science and the tools available to help us reverse this trend and reduce the number of overdose deaths in this country. But these tools are not being used effectively.”
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