Drop in Life Expectancy ‘Speaks Volumes’ About How US Handled Covid: Expert

To confirm the headline statement, Lambert has pointed out that Covid showed that the government could get away with letting a million people die.

The US is failing on all sorts of social indicators, not just falling life expectancy but also falling height (a proxy for the quality of diets among the young), educational attainment, teen births, crime rates. Hollywood is our big bulwark against the rest of the world realizing how far we’ve fallen.

By Jessica Corbett. Originally published at Common Dreams

Just over a month into year three of the Covid-19 pandemic, research revealed Thursday that life expectancy in the United States declined again in 2021—which followed a well-documented drop in 2020 and contrasted a recovery trend in other high-income countries.

The paper, which has not yet been peer-reviewed, shows that U.S. life expectancy fell from 78.86 years in 2019 to 76.99 years in 2020 and 76.60 years in 2021, a net loss of 2.26 years.

The study comes as progressives in Congress continue to fight for Medicare for All legislation to replace the U.S. for-profit healthcare system—one in which 112 million adults struggle to afford care, according to Gallup and West Health.

The research also comes just days after a Poor People’s Campaign analysis exposedhow the public health crisis was twice as deadly in poor counties as in wealthy ones and “exacerbated preexisting social and economic disparities that have long festered in the U.S.”

Johns Hopkins University’s case tracker reported that as of Thursday afternoon, Covid-19 had claimed 984,571 lives across the United States, or nearly 16% of the more than six million deaths globally.

Dr. Steven Woolf, co-author of the new study and director emeritus of the Center on Society and Health at Virginia Commonwealth University, saidin a statement that “we already knew that the U.S. experienced historic losses in life expectancy in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. What wasn’t clear is what happened in 2021.”

“Early in 2021, knowing an excellent vaccine was being distributed, I was hopeful that the U.S. could recover some of its historic losses,” said Woolf. “But I began to worry more when I saw what happened as the year unfolded.”

“Even so, as a scientist, until I saw the data it remained an open question how U.S. life expectancy for that year would be affected,” he added. “It was shocking to see that U.S. life expectancy, rather than having rebounded, had dropped even further.”

In addition to examining the United States, the researchers looked at life expectancy over the past two years in 19 “peer countries,” and found a smaller drop between 2019 and 2020—an average of 0.57 years—followed by an average 0.28-year increase from 2020 to 2021.

“While other high-income countries saw their life expectancy increase in 2021, recovering about half of their losses, U.S. life expectancy continued to fall,” Woolf said. “This speaks volumes about the life consequences of how the U.S. handled the pandemic.”

Taking aim at policymakers who opposed efforts to curb the spread of the virus, the expert added that “in a country where the U.S. Constitution and 10th Amendment grant public health authority to the states, I believe the U.S. catastrophe speaks volumes about the policies and behaviors of U.S. governors—at least some of them. A highly effective vaccine was available in 2021 that made Covid-19 deaths almost completely preventable.”

Woolf highlighted that while the Delta and Omicron variants significantly contributed to the death toll in the United States, those mutations also impacted other countries that saw life expectancy rates rebound last year.

“Deaths from these variants occurred almost entirely among unvaccinated people,” he said. “What happened in the U.S. is less about the variants than the levels of resistance to vaccination and the public’s rejection of practices, such as masking and mandates, to reduce viral transmission.”

Noting high rates of heart disease and obesity as well as inequities in access to healthcare in the United States, lead author and University of Colorado Boulder sociology professor Ryan Masters said that “those same factors made the U.S. more vulnerable than other countries to the mortality consequences of Covid-19.”

The study states that “over the two-year period between 2019 and 2021, U.S. Hispanic and non-Hispanic Black populations experienced the largest losses in life expectancy, reflecting the legacy of systemic racism and inadequacies in the U.S. handling of the pandemic.”

Woolf said that “sadly, it was not a surprise to see the disproportionate impact on people of color. Our research had shown that previously. But there was an interesting plot twist in 2021: the only decrease in life expectancy occurred in white people. Life expectancy in the Black population even increased.”

“Despite that increase,” he pointed out, “life expectancy in the Black population remains far lower than in other groups, but the disproportionate impact on white people holds clues to what happened in 2021.”

Co-author Laudan Aron, a senior fellow at the Urban Institute, toldThe Washington Post, “It’s hard to imagine that willingness to be vaccinated is not a piece of that puzzle.”

“The life expectancy gap between the United States and its peer income countries is now over five years, which is an incredible gap,” she said. “Death and life expectancy? That’s the ultimate marker of what it means to live in a country.”

Some members of Congress believe that the pandemic demonstrates the necessity of establishing a national program that treats healthcare as a basic human right and reaches communities that have been disproportionately excluded from and mistreated under the existing profit-driven system.

Last month, during the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Reform’s first Medicare for All hearing since the pandemic began, Rep. Cori Bush (D-Mo.) declaredthat “this policy will save lives, I want to make that clear.”

“I hope this hearing will be one more step forward in our commitment to ensuring everyone in this country, and particularly our Black, Brown, and Indigenous communities, have the medical care they need to thrive,” she said.

The day after the House event, Senate Budget Committee Chair Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.)—a longtime Medicare for All advocate—announcedthat his panel will hold a similar hearing in early May.

On social media Friday, Warren Gunnels, Sanders’ staff director, noted the new paper and saidthat he “can’t stop thinking about how many lives could have been saved if Congress passed Bernie’s bill to require Medicare to pay all of the healthcare bills of the uninsured and under-insured during the pandemic—which was fully paid for by a one-time 60% wealth tax on 700 billionaires.”

The new research comes after a March study publishedin the journal Population and Development Review, which found that “global life expectancy appears to have declined by 0.92 years between 2019 and 2020 and by another 0.72 years between 2020 and 2021.”

That paper—by Patrick Heuveline of the California Center for Population Research at the University of California, Los Angeles—concludes:

Changes in life expectancy between 2019 and 2020 in America, Europe, and a few other countries have received copious attention. Results presented here confirm several key takeaways from previous analyses such as the large mortality impact of the pandemic (1) in the United States relative to other high-income nations in Western Europe, (2) in Russia relative to the rest of Europe, and foremost, (3) in some Central and South American nations.

Using end-of-2021 reports of deaths attributed to Covid-19 and modeling their relationship to excess deaths, preliminary estimates were also presented for changes in life expectancy in 2021. These results suggest a growing gap between, on the one hand, Western European nations and, on the other hand, the United States, where life expectancy continued to decline, and even more so, Russia, where it is expected to decline more in 2021 than in 2020.

Writing about Heuveline’s findings Thursday for World Socialist Web Site, Evan Blake and Benjamin Mateus madethe case that “unlike previous pandemics, every aspect of the Covid-19 pandemic was both foreseeable and preventable, as documented by dozens of scholarly papers, books, and even films released just since the start of the 21st century.”

“At every step of the way, the financial oligarchy and its political representatives ensured that profits were prioritized over human lives and well-being,” they added. “To put it succinctly, the decline in life expectancy is a concrete health measurement of the policies of social murder, whose monetary values can be appraised by the coinciding rise in stock market indices.”

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  1. DJG, Reality Czar

    Having read the coverage here at Naked Capitalism of the opioid crisis, I was suspicious of the two-year sample, that is, the focus only on the COVID pandemic. The article underlying the line graph makes the decline much clearer and more dire. Life expectancy peaked some ten years ago:

    “While life expectancy in the United States decreased from its all-time high of 78.9 years after 2014 (driven by increase in overdose deaths), life expectancy increased in 2018 and 2019 and was back up to 78.8 years in 2019. Life expectancy increased in all comparable countries from 2018 to 2019.”

    Since 2019, life expectancy in the US has dropped to 76.6 years, according to the article posted here (NPR tweet). That’s 2.3 years over the course of a decade. It is a major political and economic failure, backed up by any number of self-destructive cultural tendencies.

    But, heck: Let’s have a war. That’ll really bring down life expectancy, because, as we all know, human beings can then subsist on propaganda.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Re your last point. There is actually precedence for this. When Napoleon was fighting in the Italian campaign (I think it was) he said that he was losing something like several thousand dead each and every month through disease so he said that he may as well have a battle instead.

      1. Tom Doak

        That’s one of the things that’s worried me most about the pandemic in America – the underlying message that “life is cheap” is the basis for reckless leadership, reckless foreign policy, death by corporate activity (from coal mining to being run over by a driverless car), high rates of addiction and suicide, etc.

        My son’s generation has picked up on the message, loud and clear.

  2. Lex

    ‘Hollywood is our big bulwark against the rest of the world realizing how far we’ve fallen.’

    I didn’t watch the Oscars or the slap. Instead I paged through the fashion photo ops the next day. I swear the designer clothing gets a little worse every year. Yeesh.

    The other thing that struck me was how remarkably similar the actor’s body types were. Heads too large for bodies, exaggerated facial features, no hips/guts/butts, and skinny legs in skinny pants. It’s like they’ve become caricatures of themselves. Live bobble heads. We see the end product of their seemingly remarkable plasticity. I wondered who and how that standard is being set. I’ve assumed dieting and working out is just what actors do to make themselves appear more worthy (than the competition), disciplined, and less expensive to insure. But that POV has been from reading Edward Jay Epstein’s books.

    I haven’t given much consideration to Hollywood imagery as a form of national security. Yes, even after decades of movies made during, or set in, WWII. But that’s the nature of propaganda, isn’t it? We don’t really notice how our lens on the world to being fine tuned to serve the state/market.

    1. anon y'mouse

      what’s more telling is trying to find a film that’s not about a “superhero” (usually dressed in the flag’s colors) or a current or former CIA operative, special ops type or other gov’t goon doing something or other with a shadowy conspiracy (almost never corporate conspiracy that is so prevalent here, either), with many guns in tow.

      if you rule those out, you are left with inane romantic comedies. where did the films for adults go? those are in French, and US citizens hate to read.

      1. Joe Well

        Matt Stoller wrote about how that is a product of over consolidation of the movie studios. Less competition and more money in the hands of fewer studios means reliable blockbusters from franchises and less risk taking.

        He specifically used Back to the Future as an example of a big budget film that could never get produced today.

        1. caucus99percenter

          Let’s not forget how Back to the Future did The Blob a huge favor by casually demonizing Libya for a whole generation of kids, subliminally setting the mental stage with them so as to pave the way for Obama and NATO’s destruction of that country 26 years later.

          1. Airlane1979

            Yes, I think so, even if many might dismiss the suggestion. I happened to watch the film recently and the scene in the car park of the shopping mall in which “Libyans!” are given automatic bad-guy status without the slightest justification made me uncomfortable. They are made to look stupid and vicious.

    2. Sutter Cane

      Large heads work better on camera somehow, and the cliche that “the camera adds 10 pounds” is true, so the Hollywood type really is oversized heads on smaller frames. If you’ve ever seen our acting aristocracy in person, you might be surprised how less attractive they are in real life vs. on camera.

      As for the propaganda, I’m still amazed by how effective it is. In my pre-pandemic travels to the EU I was always surprised by how much the average European accepted the Hollywood projection of life in the US and had no clue about the reality. In their minds, small US towns were quaint Mayberrys and not opioid-ravaged ghettos, and they assumed cities like SF were more like Tokyo than Rio de Janeiro with pockets of Rocinha mixed throughout.

      1. JTMcPhee

        This recalls meeting Ted Danson from “Cheers” on a boat trip for donors to his “save the oceans” charity. The guy has an extraordinarily long, narrow head and face, and the slender build as described. Amazing how that is transformed into “handsome” by the small screen. The guy looks weird in person, to me at least.

        Contrast with John Wayne, maybe? Or Ernest Borgnine? And the current version of Stephen Seagal?

        And the Muscleman in Chief, who looks to be also disproportionate, and who has a big mouth in every sense of the term including the plain old physical. His pie hole has always looked frog-like and scary to me.

        Unreality rules.

        1. Anthony G Stegman

          I think it varies with the individual. Back in the late 1970s I was at a car show in Santa Monica and Telly Savalas (Who’s your daddy?) showed up. He looked exactly like his TV character. Another time I wound up sharing an airport shuttle with Angie Dickinson at LAX. She too looked just like her TV character, though older sans makeup.

        2. Joe Well

          I am rewatching Cheers and he looks weird on the show, too. I think on TV where everyone has to be attractive, if they want a man to stand out as attractive he has to have an unusual face. With women, it’s accomplished with hair, makeup, wardrobe.

      2. Lex

        I’ve been thinking about it today as I went about doing chores and of course we can’t generalize about all actors as ‘odd bodies’, but we can raise an eyebrow to the aesthetic filters that the selection of Oscar photos went through before making the final cut. To Ives point, there is a message being shared with the world about Hollywood as representative of our country. Something about our exceptionalism.

      3. The Rev Kev

        The women look weird as well with the plastic surgery that they have and I mean their faces as well as their bodies. Definitely off-putting and especially so with the Kardashian women. A coupla days ago the Critical Drinker put out a video where he blames the fall of modern movies to the modern actors themselves. Through social media, we are getting a very good idea what they are like in real life and sometimes it is not a good experience-

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l04RZVeJViI (9:25 mins) – some swearing

      4. Heraclitus

        Some years ago we assisted a film crew for a straight to video production that nevertheless had some big names. I was struck by how much better looking the members of the crew were than the actors, in person at least.

  3. Stick'em

    Certainly life expectancy is decreased when 1 million Americans die of COVID over a two year interval. That said, as Reality Czar noted, the general trend isn’t new. Careful observers recognized it years ago:


    Poorly educated, middle-aged American white males are particularly affected, multiple studies suggest. A study on the issue finds the rising death rate for this group is not due to the ailments that commonly kill so many Americans, like diabetes and heart disease, but rather by an epidemic of suicides, liver disease caused by alcohol abuse, and overdoses of heroin and prescription opioids.

    “No war, no catastrophe caused the spiking mortality rate for this population,” Noam Chomsky said in 2016. “Just the impact of policies over a generation that left people, it seems, angry, without hope, frustrated, causing self-destructive behavior.”

    “It’s interesting to compare the situation in the ‘30s, which I’m old enough to remember,” he said. “Objectively, poverty and suffering were far greater. But even among poor working people and the unemployed, there was a sense of hope that is lacking now.”

    Yes, of course the self-destructive behavior of white men isn’t inclusive of the rest of America. However, it doesn’t take much effort to see COVID exacerbates the drinking and drugging as men lead lives of quiet despair. It isn’t an either/or situation where we must attribute the rise in death to opoids or Covid. It isn’t white men or other identity poltics categories. It’s both. It’s all of the above. The effects of the phenomena are additive.

    The really bad news is the rise of Trump didn’t fix any of this (nor will that of Biden), so the door remains wide open for even more incompetent authoritarian types to capitalize on the opportunity created by this rising tide of existental dread in America. Verily, people flock to the strongman in times of fear.

    1. Robert Hahl

      It’s not often discussed, but uppers, pot, cocaine, etc., produce persistent erratic behaviors in people even between doses, that is, when they not actually high. I have seen logic and common sense all but extinguished, money management impossible to deal with — not for the sake of buying more drugs — but to gamble and avoid working at a job — while neglecting nutrition, sleep, family relationships, (on and on)….

      I have also seen these morbid symptoms disappear after the drugs stopped, and reappear after the drugs started again. Counselors and psychiatrists all seem to think of mental diseases, like bipolar disorders, as being the primary problem while drugs and gambling just happen to the person with the mental disorder. Its never the other way around. Seems like bullshit to me.

      1. Wukchumni

        A billboard with the photo of a gent about my age was on my drive in Visalia and practically shouted ‘Jerry Y won $14,650’ @ Eagle Casino, one of about half a dozen Native American casinos in a few hours drive from here. There are no billboards with moribund gamblers who were addicted and lost everything ‘Mary S. lost her marriage and all her money!’.

        Rampant gambling was one of the factors in the leadup to the French Revolution, and it is so pervasive in our culture, look at savings, they’re practically begging you to do something else with your money, buy stocks or cryptos, don’t be a loser holding cash!

        And those are different kinds of gambling compared to what professional sports seems to revolve around, hell the MLB umpires have a FTX logo on their uniforms, and they of all people are supposed to be impartial.

        1. PressGaneyMustDie

          There are no billboards with moribund gamblers who were addicted and lost everything ‘Mary S. lost her marriage and all her money!’

          Just came back from Mexico. Cigarette packs are required to have gruesome images of smoking complications (cadaver lungs, chest wall scars, low birthweight babies) but people still smoke.

      2. Stick'em

        A huge part of the problem is drugs use used to be socially unacceptable. Now? We got half the country on “acceptable” forms of drugs from the pharma companies, such as Fentanyl, Adderall, and Oxycontin.

        We’ve made being a legalized drug dealer OK. The biggest legalized drug dealers being the ones that peddle that ubiquitous legal drug, ethanol. Yes, I know Prohibition doesn’t work, but damn, can we at least keep the marketing people from selling the hell out of all this stuff with titties and flashing lights?

        Apparently the same thing happened with gambling while I wasn’t paying attention. Feel like Rip Van Winkle. The wife and I hadn’t watched a sporting event in a decade, mainly because we cut off our cable TV and so had no home access. This year, we decided to watch a few NFL playoff games and were mindboggled to see gambling ads featuring the Manning brothers all over the place.

        Turns out just as with legalized pharma, the courts legalized sports gambling. Shaking my head.


        Not sure how directly gambling affects life expectancy, but certainly something like gun ownership coupled with a gambling problem leads to a certain rate of suicide, so there’s an indirect link at the very least.

        Is there anything Americans won’t commidify and use to exploit their neighbors? Every time I think I’ve finally reached an objective level of cynicism, somebody says, “Hey, y’all. Hold my beer. Watch this…”

        1. Tom Doak

          Legalized sports gambling was ushered in right at the start of the pandemic. They had been working the margins for some time by wagering on fantasy sports, but when the state budget in Michigan was threatened by all the complications of COVID, MGM was right there offering to “help” with a small portion of their legalized gambling profits.

        2. BlakeFelix

          I think that it does most of it’s harm through poverty and wasted attention. Should be legal but taxed somehow I guess, and a UBI for the poverty. And liberal bankruptcy codes.

      3. JBird4049

        >>>while neglecting nutrition, sleep, family relationships, (on and on)….

        It is not either/or. Sometimes it is the persistence of over/underwork, hunger/bad food, poor sleep, etc that can make people use those insanity causing drugs or make those addictions that much more damaging. No food and can’t sleep, well have not one, but two pots of coffee at work, have some meth as well… no food? Mountain Dew with the caffeine to kill the hunger, and tums (to fill the stomach) for that. Resistance to illness, nil, but you can, somehow, just keep stumbling along. Than a bottle of vodka to sleep, perhaps.

        Then someone goes off the deep end into insanity, and social workers insist on them cutting out the crack before giving them some food and a safe place to sleep, away from the crazy roommates, friends, or family, maybe the cops banging on the door for someone else, which means that they do not have the ability to stop. Because that is the only way that they can get their mess up body to move, forget about them being functional human beings without that food and sleep.

        Then one sees the… cheese eating… grin of the Important People who lecture others on how to live. Crud. Just who is living in Fantasy Land, I ask?

        Well, we might all be living with The Long Covid soon, all stumbling together in our collective mess-uped brains, weee.

    2. Kurtismayfield

      It’s not only the drugs, it’s the gambling. I am amazed at how the conversations I have with that cohort always gets redirected into sports and how they won/lost money on that. The sports gambling at this point has become endemic.

      1. Michael Fiorillo

        Traveling on a commuter rail line recently – NJ Transit – and ALL the ads were for sports betting or crypto…

        1. Kurtismayfield

          Can you imagine having a bookie that is instant and has a direct line to your bank account? It is so foolish

          1. Michael Fiorillo

            Of course, most of those people betting are chumps and always lose, but I have a system…./s

            1. Anthony G Stegman

              Bloomberg Businessweek recently had an article regarding sports betting. It actually is possible to guarantee winning money due to the various online sports betting books offering various freebies. It takes some discipline and basic math skills, but there is money to be made in sports betting. This may be why there has been a sharp increase in sports betting.

                1. R Antonucci

                  you mean because it’s a free lunch? Free lunches do exist in various ways, most obviously arbitrage for the agile. also because the house just has to win on the population level, not the individual level. that is, you can supposedly win systematically in Vegas with disciplined card counting, but the house makes it up on the many more better than are sloshed.

                  1. Tinky

                    Successful card counters who win serious money are typically banned from casinos. They don’t like to be beaten by anyone.

              1. Geo

                “there is money to be made in sports betting”

                Yes. Lots of money to be made.

                “In the casino, the cardinal rule is to keep them playing and to keep them coming back. The longer they play, the more they lose, and in the end, we get it all.” – Ace Rothstein, Casino

          2. Objective Ace

            It’s really not that big of a deal for many people. Betting on a football game is the same thing as paying to see a movie. I’m paying for entertainment and under no illusion it’s an “investment” where I will come out on top.

            It certainly can be a vice – just like alcohol, sex, etc can be but all this doom and gloom talk about gambling is a little much. Based on the post, are we implying it’s part of why the life expectancy decreased?

            1. Robert Hahl

              If one of your kids or parents blew out er savings account gambling on tennis matches in Lithuania while waiting for March Madness to begin you might understand.

              1. Geo

                Agreed. My grandfather blew a lifetime of hard work and savings in his final years on horse races. Instead of having nice accommodations in his last years he had a small and crappy studio apt and instead of leaving behind an inheritance for his loved ones he left a tangled web of debts.

                But I’m sure John & Denise Coates became billionaires from casual hobbyists.

                It’s not like there is evidence linking “problem gamblers” and increased profits. https://mn.gov/dhs/assets/2018-02-percentage-of-gambling-revenues-that-come-from-problem-gamblers-report_tcm1053-327238.pdf

                1. caucus99percenter

                  Exploitation of weaponized insights gained from scientific study of human nature qualifies as evil in my book. Dark patterns. Dopamine loops. It’s the phishing equilibrium principle again — every trick in the book, gambling platforms are gonna use it.

                  The only truly fair organized gambling I ever saw was at legal poker clubs fifty years ago in Gardena, California, whose existence relied on a long-ago state court ruling that draw poker was a game of skill, not chance. Of course, there you could still get rooked big time, only by your fellow players instead of “the house” (whose role was confined to providing the players with necessary equipment and amenities).

              2. Objective Ace

                I totally understand. But is blowing out your savings (not to mention health) on booze or drugs any more palatable? Seems inconsistent to allow those activities* but not gambling. The only definitive “answer” is to restrict freedom under an authoritarian government. That’s not personally for me and would seem to go against the founding principles of the constitution, but you’re absolutely correct that there are benefits to doing so.

                *Caveat that there are government restrictions on drugs, you cant just buy as many as you want. Perhaps that could work for gamlbing too?

                1. Airlane1979

                  The freedom of corporations to fleece people based on asymmetries of power, wealth and knowledge needs to be restricted. Such unfreedoms make for a happier society.

            2. Kurtismayfield

              And when one football game becomes all thirteen, and you lose the rent money.

              Thank goodness there is no social net here in the US to catch the degenerate gamblers when they are kicked out into the streets right?

      2. David in Santa Cruz

        Gambling. The number and depth of responses is fascinating. It seems like “rolling the dice” is the American obsession.

        Why else to the suckers flock to place their money on the next Elizabeth Holmes, Adam Neumann, Elon Musk, Travis Kalanick, Mark Zuckerberg, et al.; why else do professional sports get an anti-trust exemption and pay tens of millions to young knuckleheads with no talent for anything but chasing balls around palaces of concrete and grass; why else does a rich punk like Antony Blinken think that he can “stare down” the leaders of an aggrieved nuclear former superpower?

        The “mark” always thinks he’s “in on the con” and that winning is a “sure thing.” Critical thinkers need not apply…

    3. Tom Bradford

      But even among poor working people and the unemployed, there was a sense of hope that is lacking now.”

      I recall as a child in the 1950’s my grandmother, who had lived through two world wars and lost family members, as well as the ‘flu epidemic and theGreat Depression, responding to every set-back with a shrug and a ‘life will go on.’

      Now, tho’, I’m not sure that works any more, with all the uncertainties of global warming, environmental destruction, over-population, et al. Life going on is no-longer a rock you can anchor hope to.

      I think it’s at the end of Nevil Shute’s “On the Beach” where Australia is one of the last places on earth to be overtaken by the results of a nuclear war in the Northern Hemisphere, that people facing the inevitable begin indulging in self-destructive behaviour like car-races that degenerate into suicidal mayhem, and other self-destructive behaviour. Although the cause is different and not so immediate (yet) I do wonder if, deprived of the assurance that ‘life will go on,’ we’re not seeing the beginning of that despair.

      1. Robert Hahl

        I think it’s all part of the plan to de-industrialize, de-unionize, and create a population having low intelligence who don’t care about the truth.

        1. LarryMotuz

          Doesn’t matter how intelligent one is. If a person is not reasonably educated, emotions can be easily triggered, politically or otherwise.

          Witness, for instance, the Civic Science survey (2019) which asked, “Should schools in America teach Arabic Numerals as part of the curriculum?” and which found that a clear majority of Americans were opposed to such teachings. See: https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/teaching-arabic-numerals/ if you have difficulty believing this.

    1. Thistlebreath

      Huh. Three people who don’t know each other have all said the same thing to me in the last couple of weeks. One included Medicare recipients, too.

  4. Objective Ace

    Can anyone explain exactly what “Life expectancy” is measuring? Is it measuring the life expectancy of a newborn or the median aged member of the population, or perhaps something else entirely like the current average age of death?

    Obviously a falling life expectancy is bad news regardless, but depending on how its measured the implications are different.

  5. Ignacio

    This is indeed quite an interesting article as well as a sad one. It notes vaccines in 2021 as a big factor, and I agree. It also notes masking & behaviour which I consider important in 2021 but it might be becoming of utmost importance in 2022 when vaccines have lost power for several reasons. I was wondering for instance if, apart from lower and/or delayed vaccination rates, masking is also less frequent in South America or in Russia.

    I see as somehow worrisome that masks will not longer be obligatory indoors in my country. Still obligatory in public transport. If there comes another large wave it might be problematic unless there is fast reaction for obligatory masking. But because testing and reporting is becoming less reliable we might be late to such reaction. Covid mortality is now affecting the elder more disproportionately than in early days. Delta made the trend reverse against the younger but Omicron drove it back dramatically.

    1. Objective Ace

      Germany has a lower vaccination rate then the US. Even the countries with a higher rater–its generally only a couple percent higher uptake. Also keep in mind, the initial clinical trials actually showed an all cause increase in mortality in the vaccine arm of the trials… likely due to small sample size, but still. I dont see how any discrepancy between life expectancy can be blamed on the couple percentage point difference (or negative in Germany’s case)

      Healthcare, and just general caring of others (including wearing masks) and quality of life–those are better explanations

      1. Ignacio

        Your first phrase reinforces the role of vaccines because Germany also showed a decrease in 2021, though not as large as the US To be sure many more factors apply, being masking&behaviour an important one.

        1. Objective Ace

          I still dont think it does. It may be helpful to change the comparison from other countries to 2020. There were no vaccines at all in 2020. Any vaccine uptake is an improvement. Or at least should be.. you cant use the relatively low US vaccination rates to explain that away. Reltatively low is still 65% higher then it was last year. Something else must be going on

          1. Objective Ace

            Edit: I should have perhaps clarified, I’m not saying Vaccines dont have a role. I’m just saying you cant blame lower life expectancy on US vaccine rates. Its quite plausible we would have had even lower life expectancy if we had no vaccines at all (all though, perhaps vaccines gave politicians an excuse “to let it rip” in which case the converse could also be true)

  6. Hayek's Heelbiter

    Don’t forget that after his mother died because insurance companies refused to cover her cancer treatment, Obama campaigned on fighting tooth-and-nail for single-payer health care.
    But when the discussions actually began, the very FIRST thing the Administration said was, “We’re taking single-payer off the table.”
    We all know how THAT turned out.

  7. Anthony G Stegman

    The decline in life expectancy is blowback from American imperialism. In America’s wars (nearly all of them wars of choice) the ,media focuses on combat casualties. What the media ignores is the deaths in the US that occur because of government policy. It is said that there are a thousand ways to die. In the United States people die from many, many causes, though the root can easily be identified. The nation of the United States was founded on extreme violence – genocide, murder, slavery, and the like. These founding “ideals” that some life is cheap and not worth being concerned about course through our national veins to this day.

    1. LarryMotuz

      Some 97 million dollars is planned hourly spending for the military in 2023.

      Yes, a lot of people are dying in the U.S. and, especially elsewhere, because of this misallocation of America’s spending priorities.

  8. Dave in Austin

    The face and body that work on TV: Howdy Doody, Gumby, Barbie, Obama, Pelosi, the Telly Tubbies, G. Bush the Elder, JFK. Neo-natal face with an elongated body. That which doesn’t: wrinkles, bellies, old age.

    When Russia fell they old died of vodka
    Wen the US fell the old died of diabetes and overweight (65%+ of Covid victims)

    QED: If a disease kills-off the unattractive it is less of a problem.

  9. David in Santa Cruz

    A government that allowed a million deaths from the pandemic is but one symptom of a society that derives its greatest pleasure from seeing others suffer and die. Watch “Hollywood entertainment” and you will understand the core ethos of American culture:

    The cruelty is the point.

    The notoriously unreliable CDC reports 24,576 deaths by homicide in the U.S. in 2020, the last year for which they have statistics. Everywhere are bidonvilles full of the unemployed, numbed into submission and early death by the hyper-capitalist cross-border drug trade which is at best tolerated by our government, if not facilitated through “free trade” policies. Militarized policing feeds the maw of mass-incarceration, while higher education is designed as a pipeline to debt peonage. Elites loot our savings and hoard resources with impunity while partying like it’s the End of Days.

    Which it probably is…

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