Really, world, I can’t afford much of a drop in life expectancy

The COVID-19 pandemic — you know, the one right-wingers tried to claim didn’t exist, was nothing worse than the flu, and could be treated with horse paste — caused the largest drop in American life expectancy since WWII. Did anyone not take the casualties in WWII seriously?

Of the 29 countries studied by researchers from the University of Oxford, just Denmark and Norway did not see a drop in life expectancy in 2020, according to demographic data.

The U.S. recorded the biggest losses in both men and women—2.2 years and 1.65 years compared to 2019 levels, respectively—something Ridhi Kashyap, co-lead author of the study, said could be partly explained by the “notable increase in” deaths among working aged people due to Covid-19.

USA! USA! Number ONE! We got the biggest numbers. Oh, wait, is this like golf, where the lowest score wins? Whoops.

So what went wrong, America?

The countries that successfully avoided drops in life expectancy (which partly included Finland, which staved off a decline in women only) implemented “early non-pharmaceutical interventions” and had strong healthcare systems. The researchers said these factors likely contributed towards the countries’ successes. The U.S. suffering the biggest drop in life expectancy is unsurprising. It has suffered more Covid-19 deaths than any other country, a burden that has, as many health issues, disproportionately fallen on people of color. Earlier studies have shown the U.S. to have experienced a far worse drop in life expectancy than other high income nations like the U.K. and Sweden. Despite an abundant vaccine supply, every adult (and many children) having been eligible for months and having a head start over much of the world, many in the U.S. remain unvaccinated and the country is facing a huge surge of hospitalizations and deaths.

To make it short, we’re world leaders in capitalism, racism, and stupidity. Yay! Number one again! If only we were playing football rather than scoring deaths.


  1. snarkrates says

    We are also dead last among the G7 countries for % vaccinated. And we’ve been losing ground steadily vs other “advanced economies” in terms of most of the welfare indices. But, hey, it’s the cost of living in a capitalist paradise, amirite?

  2. blf says

    (These are two reconstructed cross-posts from poopyhead’s current Infinite [Pandemic and Political Madness] Thread…)

    @421: A snippet from The US has terrible family policies. How do expats fare abroad? (“Three American families in three countries [Netherlands, Ireland, and Japan] are delighted to find more generous leave and support in their new homes”):

    The US is a global outlier on family policy: out of 193 countries, 182 have paid sick leave, 185 have paid leave for mothers and 108 have paid leave for fathers, according to the WORLD Policy Analysis Center. “These are very, very widespread policies and guaranteeing three months or more is very common,” said Dr Jody Heymann, founding director of the WORLD Policy Analysis Center.

    In June, Unicef ranked US national childcare policies 40th out of 41 wealthy countries because of its weak investments in leave and childcare.

    @423(an observation originally posted by Akira MacKenzie): The trouble is that here in the States there are a vast number of voters who don’t measure things like literacy, health care outcomes, infant mortality, education, social benefits to judge the success of a society. (If anything, countries that have strong social welfare policies are really totalitarian hell holes that tax their citizens into poverty and take away their guns.) The only thing that matters to them is if the America GDP is high and the military is huge. Those make the USA “number one.”

  3. robro says

    A New York Timeds article I saw aptly referred to the current situation as the “Red Pandemic”. COVID is killing a disproportionate number of people in counties that voted for Trump. Earlier in the pandemic the pandemic was focused on Democrat dominated urban areas with high levels international travel.

  4. birgerjohansson says

    I suppose we can congratulate the Republicans for reducing costs as a lot of their elderly voters no longer need Medicare or Medicaid, being dead. (slow clap)
    When well-educated couples discover they cannot afford having children and paying the rent at the same time, you get a situation like Italy, where new births are well below replacement levels. If It was not for those immigrants from sh@thole countries USA would be facing the same prospect.

  5. birgerjohansson says

    Just to make this a perfect storm, let us refine the 3D printing of metal parts to the point where everything but the bolt and barrel of an automatic rifle can be home-made in hours.
    If you are willing to settle for pistol-caliber ammo, a 100% 3D printed smg should be feasible…
    Then everyone can play ‘good guy with a gun’, re-creating that nostalgic prohibition ambience.

  6. robro says

    apropos of birgerjohansson @ #6: The FBI reported murders spiked 30% last year, although not all police departments have reported.

  7. says

    As Isaac Asimov said (emphasis mine):

    The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that “my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.”

    Sometimes stupidity carries a death sentence. And then no amount of ignorance will save you.

  8. snarkrates says

    While the pandemic in the US is hitting Red counties harder, it may be hitting blue voters in those counties harder still. COVID has disproportionately affected minorities. And I guarantee every Covidiot will drag someone with them–possibly intentionally.

  9. says

    I had to check. COVID-19 had killed twice as many Americans in a year than died during the Second World War. American casualties during WWII, 291,000. We’re well over 600,000 from COVID in one year. Bring on the mandates. It’s time.

  10. whheydt says

    Re: Ray Ceeya @ #10…
    Total COVID-19 deaths (about 680K at the moment) are within the estimated range of US deaths from the 1918 “Spanish” flu (500K to 850K). Granted, the population of the US is about 3 times higher now, but we also have far better medical knowledge and technology. We should have done a lot better.

  11. robro says

    snarkrates @ #9 — That’s true, although the NYT article did say that more minorities are getting vaccinated now.

  12. birgerjohansson says

    Conclusion. We do not need homicidal aliens, zombies or Elder Gods. Our mundane stupidity (and greed- don’t forget the campaign contributions to our ruling traitors) is about to do us in.

  13. says


    countries that have strong social welfare policies are really totalitarian hell holes that tax their citizens into poverty and take away their guns.

    Normally I’d say to such people; come and visit and see what its like. But on second thought, nope; please keep them.

    Speaking as a citizen of one of these “totalitarian hell holes”, We kind of like our social policies. As far as I can remember our social policies (such as AOW) have enjoyed broad popular support. Right-wing parties love to grouse about them but they are smart enough to see that to seriously oppose them would be political suicide.

    Ray Ceeya@10

    Yes, way overdue.

  14. says

    Ray Ceeya@10

    “Actual liberty for all of us cannot exist where individual liberties override potential injury done to others”

    — U.S. District Judge David Bunning

  15. blf says

    rsmith@14, “Normally I’d say to such people; come and visit and see what its like.”

    My own experiences with at least some of the those who imagine “countries that have strong social welfare policies are really totalitarian hell holes that tax their citizens into poverty and take away their guns” is visiting / seeing doesn’t help. One particular incident I recall from Ireland (ironically, one of the countries discussed in the link @2) was a typical loud thick (known-)USAian asserting European “socalised” healthcare was no good because they couldn’t walk into a hospital and demand whatever it was he though he needed, pay for it, and get it. Which is so wrong and misses so many points that their not even wrong is not even wrong.

    On the other hand, it does sometimes work. Sort-of. An example incident was in Aix-en-Provence here in France, where at an outdoor food market I heard a (different) typical loud thick (probable-)USAian say, paraphrasing from memory, “I can see why people like shopping in these supermarkets”. (Amusingly, I’m about to head off to my own village’s outdoor, ah, supermarket — well, it is kind-of super and is a market…)

    Of course, these are anecdotes, not data…

  16. says


    My impression is that in the USA a lot more chemicals (including medicines) are available to private buyers than in the EU. In the EU a sizeable number of chemicals is restricted to “professional use only” (and usually with good reason, IMO). And more medicines seem to be prescription only. For example, ivermectin (also known by the generic name Stromectol) can only be ordered without a recipe from dubious webshops.

    Although I like open-air markets, a lot of them here are during the day on weekdays which is not convenient if you have a full-time job. They offer very good value for money though. But I must admit that I mostly go to the supermarket after I get home from work; it’s just more convenient.

  17. blf says

    rsmith@17, Yeah, here locally, all the outdoors markets (excepting the summer tourist-trap marché nocturne) are in the mornings — not always convenient — albeit there are some every weekend; e.g., a small specialist biologique market on Saturdays and a much larger general market on Sundays.

  18. wzrd1 says

    All of this ingratitude! It’s just yet another Trump campaign promise, “We’ll win so much that you’ll get tired of winning”.
    Few ever bothered the Jinni promise, the wish granted being so worded as to make even Orwell proud. But, entirely consistent with his business track record.