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COVID-19, overdoses pushed US to highest death total ever

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Posted at 2:21 PM, Apr 12, 2022

NEW YORK (AP) — Federal data confirms that 2021 was the deadliest year in U.S. history.

New research is offering more insights into how it got that bad. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention this month quietly updated its provisional death statistics, showing there were more than 3.46 million deaths last year. That's about 80,000 more than 2020′s record tally.

Experts say COVID-19 was the major reason. But a new study released Tuesday shows an unprecedented spike in adolescent drug overdose deaths also played a role.

CDC data indicates that more than 373,000 Americans died from all causes in January 2021, a 108,942 increase from January 2020. January 2021 is widely considered the deadliest month of the pandemic in the U.S. with an estimated 95,000 deaths during the month. The United States did not record a significant number of COVID-19 fatalities until March 2020.

Researchers also believe U.S. life expectancy dropped another five or six months in 2021 — putting it back to where it was 20 years ago.