The expected life span in America has decreased by two years — the largest drop since World War II — and the death rate has increased 17%, according to a new report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The average U.S. life span is 77 years, down from 79 years, according to the eight-page data brief, titled "Mortality in the United States, 2020." The overall number of deaths increased from 715.2 deaths per 100,000 people in 2019, to 835.4 deaths in 2020, a 17% increase.
In Arizona specifically, the death rate increased 25% to 75,700 in 2020. So far this year, as of November, 72,595 people have died in Arizona.
Black and Hispanic Americans were hit harder than white Americans. Death rates increased by nearly 43% for Hispanic males and more than 32% for Hispanic females.
Meanwhile, death rates rose 28% for non-Hispanic Black males and 25% for non-Hispanic Black females. Death rates also increased 13.4% for white males and 12.1% white females.
According to the report, the top two leading causes of death nationwide were heart disease and cancer. COVID-19 was listed at number three.
Dr. Shad Marvasti, who viewed the CDC's report, said a lot of those deaths were preventable. He said the uptick in deaths in 2020 due to COVID is understandable, but said the number of deaths in 2021 should be lower than it is since vaccines for COVID have been available for more than a year.
"When we're already at 71,000 (deaths) here without even counting December numbers in Arizona, with basically a year of having the vaccine, a year and a half knowing masks work and mask mandates work, when we haven't had either of those...in fact we've had politics undermining those, we know these were completely preventable so it's really tragic," he said in an interview with ABC15.
Estimates have shown that Covid has become the leading cause of death in Arizona throughout the pandemic. However, that has not been 100% confirmed as the Arizona Department of Health Services, the state's health agency, has not yet released its data for 2020.
A spokesperson for ADHS said the agency would be releasing its data sometime in the spring of 2022.
For a copy of the report, click here.