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2021 was the deadliest year in U.S. history.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there were 3.465 million deaths last year.
That number is about 80,000 more than 2020′s record-setting total.
The agency’s Robert Anderson, who oversees its work on death statistics, told The Associated Press that the main reason for the increase was coronavirus – even as more Americans became up to date with vaccines.
Coronavirus death rose from 351,000 in 2020 to more than 415,000 as new variants and sub-variants emerged.
Health care workers wheel the body of deceased person from the Wyckoff Heights Medical Center during the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the Brooklyn borough of New York City, New York, U.S., April 2, 2020. (REUTERS/Brendan Mcdermid)
However, COVID-19 was not the only killer.
Preliminary CDC data showed the crude death rate for cancer rose slightly and deaths rates increased for diabetes, chronic liver disease and stroke.
While it does not yet have a number for 2021 overdose deaths, the CDC’s provisional data through October suggests the U.S. can expect at least 105,000 overdose deaths last year – up from 93,000 in 2020.
Research released Tuesday from UCLA, Harvard Medical School and the Portland, Oregon Local Public Safety Coordinating Council showed a large increase in overdose deaths among teenagers ages 14 to 18.
The teen overdose deaths were only around 1% of the U.S. total, but the group experienced a greater relative increase than the overall population, which the experts attributed to fentanyl.
In terms of life expectancy in the U.S. – an estimate of the average number of years a baby born in a given year might expect to live – the CDC has not yet reported its calculation for 2021.
In 2020, the estimated was more than a year-and-a-half lower than in 2019, at about 77 years.
Researchers believe that number dropped another five or six months in 2021.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.