The U.S. has lost more than 3 million souls in 2020, the most ever in the country’s recorded history — due mainly to coronavirus.
It’s the largest single-year percentage increase since 1918, when both World War 1 and the flu pandemic ravaged the U.S. population, according to The Associated Press.
The number of deaths rises annually in the U.S., but the jump from 2019 to 2020 is marked even within that context, AP said, with 400,000 more people dying this year than last.
In this Saturday, April 18, 2020 file photo, mortician Cordarial O. Holloway, foreground left, funeral director Robert L. Albritten, foreground right, and funeral attendants Eddie Keith, background left, and Ronald Costello place a casket into a hearse in Dawson, Ga. This is the deadliest year in U.S. history, with deaths topping 3 million for the first time. It's due mainly to the coronavirus pandemic that has killed nearly 320,000 Americans. (Brynn Anderson/AP)
By the end of this month, the overall toll will be more than 3.2 million deaths.
FILE - In this November 1918 photo made available by the Library of Congress, a nurse takes the pulse of a patient in the influenza ward of the Walter Reed hospital in Washington. In 1918, tens of thousands of U.S. soldiers died in World War I and hundreds of thousands of Americans died in a flu pandemic. Deaths rose 46% that year, compared with 1917. (Library of Congress/AP)
Hidden within this year’s mortality projections were a couple of positive signs, AP reported, with the age-adjusted death rate dropping by 1%, and life expectancy rising by about six weeks, to 78.8 years, the U.S. Centers or Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said.
On the downside, deaths from other causes increased, and drug overdose deaths “got much worse,” AP said.
In the 12 months ending in May 2020 more than 81,000 people died of drug overdoses, the highest number ever for a 12-month period, the CDC said Friday. Overdose deaths had been increasing before the pandemic, the CDC said, but the new numbers pointed to an acceleration of the trend.
“The disruption to daily life due to the COVID-19 pandemic has hit those with substance use disorder hard,” CDC director Dr. Robert Redfield said in a statement. “As we continue the fight to end this pandemic, it’s important to not lose sight of different groups being affected in other ways. We need to take care of people suffering from unintended consequences.”