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US life expectancy drops to lowest level since WWI

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)

Life expectancy in the United States has fallen by 1.5 year in 2020, experiencing the largest annual decline since World War II, according to a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

"The decline in life expectancy between 2019 and 2020 can primarily be attributed to deaths from the pandemic. Covid deaths accounted for nearly 75% of the decline. More than 609,000 Americans have died in the pandemic so far, roughly 375,000 of those lives were lost last year," the report said.

The CDC report further named drug overdose deaths as the second significant factor.

Last week, the CDC announced that drug overdose deaths in the United States have hit a new record of 93,331 over the last year after experiencing a 30-percent growth, reflecting the proliferation of the synthetic opioid fentanyl in the illegal narcotic supply and the pandemic's toll on the opioid crisis.

"Life expectancy has been increasing gradually every year for the past several decades," Elizabeth Arias, a CDC researcher who worked on the report, told Reuters.

"The decline between 2019 and 2020 was so large that it took us back to the levels we were in 2003. Sort of like we lost a decade."

The report by the CDC comes as a pandemic resurgence is now feared in the United States as the coronavirus cases are rising rapidly across the country and the highly contagious Delta variant appears to be taking hold.

Many of the new Covid outbreaks were in parts of the country with low vaccinations rate, prompting political leaders to ramp up push for jabs among reluctant Americans.

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