COVID and the opioid crisis to blame for Americans’ shorter life expectancy

Written by on March 1, 2021

COVID and the opioid crisis to blame for Americans’ shorter life expectancy

By Brittany Sweeney

March 1, 2021

Photo by Tom Leishman from Pexels

The federal government recently reported due to the pandemic, life expectancy in America has dropped a whole year.

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U.S. life expectancy fell from 78.8 years to 77.8 years during the pandemic. Doctors look at length of lifespan as a way to measure the general health of a country.

An even larger drop of 2.7 years was reported for Black Americans in 2020, which are some of the biggest drops seen in the recent past.

Dr. Michael Carnathan of Arrow Primary Care in Bethlehem says the numbers have been dropping over the last few years. 

“A full year drop is actually considered a lot. We’ve seen decreases over time, but that was mostly attributed to the opioid epidemic that’s been in this country for quite some time now, but it was a trickling decline,” Carnathan says.

Carnathan says access to care is a huge contributing factor for life span for the non-white population.

He adds the number should rebound quickly, as the pandemic comes to an end but that may take a little longer for the black community.  

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