2021 Peaked as Deadliest Year Because of COVID-19, Overdoses

COVID-19 and overdoses were the main reasons 2021 was the deadliest year in U.S. history.

COVID-19 and overdoses were the main reasons 2021 was the deadliest year in U.S. history.

The main reason for the increase in deaths? COVID-19, said Robert Anderson, who oversees the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s work on death statistics.

According to a report by the Associated Press, the CDC updated its provisional death tally where there were 3.465 million deaths last year, or about 80,000 more than 2020′s record-setting total.

COVID-19 deaths rose in 2021 — to more than 415,000, up from 351,000 the year before — as new coronavirus variants emerged and an unexpectedly large numbers of Americans refused to get vaccinated or were hesitant to wear masks, the report said.

There's no data yet from the CDC on the other leading cause of death - drug overdoses - because it can take weeks of lab work and investigation to identify them. However, data through October suggests the nation is on track to see at least 105,000 overdose deaths in 2021 — up from 93,000 the year before, the report said.

It's also been found that there is a large jump in overdose deaths among 14- to 18-year-olds, but adolescents experienced a greater relative increase than the overall population, the AP report said.

Adolescent overdose death counts were fairly constant for the last decade at around 500 a year and then they almost doubled in 2020, to 954. The report said researchers estimate the total hit nearly 1,150 last year.