I was feeling a little funky, but last I night managed to get through writing a new blog post. Then came the kicker. First, here’s the post:

     I saw a report last week from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showing that in 2021 life expectancy decreased for the second consecutive year. The decline is the largest two-year drop in nearly a hundred years (think World War I followed by the flu epidemic). It brings U. S. life expectancy at birth to 76.1 years, down from 77.3 in 2020 and 78.8 in 2019. 

     Native Americans suffered the worst fall in life-expectancy, almost two years since 2020 and an alarming six and a half years since 2019. White Americans saw a drop of one year since 2020. African Americans saw a decline of seven months, and Asian Americans a dip of just one month. Men have suffered a one-year drop from 2019, women about a seven-month drop.

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     The Covid-19 pandemic is the main cause of the decline. However, increases in the number of people dying from drug overdoses and accidents also proved to be a significant factor.

     By way of background, life expectancy in the U. S. (as in most Western countries) improved considerably in the late 20th century due to a decrease in smoking and associated diseases, advances in medicine, improvements in auto safety and a reduction in violent crime. The progress plateaued around 2010, before turning down in 2020.

     With that in mind, please note that last week a new vaccine designed to combat the latest Omicron subvariant of the Coronavirus was approved by the government. The USDA says updated booster shots could be out to the public “within a few days.”

    The new shots will be available to anyone who already had their primary vaccinations at least two months before receiving the booster dose. (See FDA News for the full report). You should be able to get the shot through pharmacies such as CVS and Rite Aid as well as many health-care providers.

     Then, as I was finishing my post, what happened? My wife called out from the bedroom, “I just tested positive for Covid,” she said. I went on to take my own test. Also positive.

     It took two and a half years. We’ve been very careful — well, maybe not quite as careful this summer as we had been — but we finally got it.

     My wife and I are both vaccinated and boosted, but obviously haven’t gotten the new vaccination. So far it just feels like a bad cold. Wish us luck.

     Be safe. Be well. And have a happy Labor Day weekend!

Tom Lashnits Writer, Blogger