Life Expectancy in the US Takes the Biggest Dive Since WWII

Newly released data from the Center for Disease Control shows that life expectancy dropped significantly in 2020. And, no, not just because of COVID-19. The change is greater than can be explained by the pandemic alone.



“Life expectancy in the United States fell 1.5 years in 2020, the largest decline since at least World War II,” reported the Wall Street Journal. “Interim data released Wednesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed that the life expectancy of Americans fell to 77.3 years in 2020, about the same level as in 2003, erasing years of hard-earned gains in the nation’s public health.”

“[I’ve never] seen such a big change, except in the history books,” said CDC demographer Elizabeth Arias.

Of course, a decline in life expectancy is to be expected in the midst of a severe pandemic. And, according to the Wall Street Journal, COVID-19 was the direct or contributing cause of 385,201 deaths in the United States in 2020. But beyond these deaths, many of the factors that drove the drop in life expectancy likely they had more to do with the government’s heavy-handed response to the pandemic than with the virus itself.

For example, COVID was the third leading cause of death in 2020. The top two were heart disease and cancer. In both cases, these deadly threats were exacerbated by government shutdowns aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19.

“Many people skipped or delayed treatment in the past year for conditions like diabetes or high blood pressure and endured isolation, stress, and disruption of normal diet and exercise routines,” explains the Wall Street Journal. Similarly, many people delayed cancer screening and other crucial medical care due to government shutdowns

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In this way, the government’s “cure” for the pandemic fueled other forms of disease. Deaths out of desperation also rose as the closures fueled mental health problems, economic crisis and isolation. For example, lethal drug overdoses increased 29% last year. An astonishing 93,000 Americans lost their lives to this cause. Why?

“Lockdowns and other pandemic restrictions isolated those with drug addictions and made treatment harder to get,” wrote the publication Associated Press.

Of course, proponents of government interventions against the pandemic would argue that these second-order effects, while tragic, were necessary by-products of the blocking orders we needed to stop the pandemic. The problem with this argument is that it is not clear that the closures have accomplished anything.

Brad Polumbo, an opinion editor at the Foundation for Economic Education, wrote an article for Newsweek titled: “Lockdowns Benefitted the Elites. The Rest of America is Still Paying the Price.”

He wrote:

Dozens of studies have since shown little to no correlation between lockdown stringency and containing the spread of COVID-19. From Florida to New York, states that took different approaches to handling COVID-19 have shown no clear pattern illustrating the success of harsh containment measures, despite their drastic costs.

Indeed, one study even concluded that COVID-19 spread the most virulently at home—suggesting that “stay at home” lockdown orders were more than ineffective, and actually counterproductive. Similarly, research from the Rand Corporation found no evidence that the measures worked. And another analysis found that the costs of mitigation efforts exceeded the benefits for 89 percent of the population.



Even before the new data on increasing drug overdoses, we already knew that the elite led us astray in our response to the pandemic. The only question remaining is whether we’ll let them do it again, next time.

Notice: This article may contain commentary that reflects the author's opinion.