Social Psychology

A Quickie: Social Determinants of Health + the #COVID19 Pandemic = Huge Drop in US Life Expectancy

If you need any more proof of how fucking incompetent the Ol’ Pussy Grabber was or is, look no further than a new report published in the BMJ (I’m assuming the British Medical Journal) examining the effects of the 2020 #COVID19 pandemic on life expectancy in the US and peer high income countries. So, here’s the upshot, according to reporting in NBCNews: From 2018 to 2020, life expectancy in the US fell by 1.9 YEARS as opposed to 2.5 MONTHS in other affluent countries.

Life expectancy in the US fell by 1.9 YEARS as opposed to 2.5 MONTHS in other affluent countries!

Yes, you read that right, the 500,000+ deaths in the US from #COVID19 caused the AVERAGE life expectancy to fall by almost two years while other countries, which include Great Britain, France, Italy, and Spain who all had their own problems with the pandemic, only fell by two and a half months! Doing the math, that’s 8.5 times the decrease of everybody else.

That puts the gross negligence of the Ol’ Pussy Grabber and company in context. That’s how bad or response to the pandemic was. Especially when you compare it to how quickly #BidenHarris got the vaccines out. How effectively the resources of the federal government could be mobilized and organized to accomplish a huge momunmental task… when there was a will to do so.

But, let’s not stop there. It gets worse. Of course, it gets worse. And, it gets worse in the most predictable way possible in the US. Go ahead, take a moment to contemplate how everything gets worse in the US. What dimension do things worsen on? If you want, write it in the comments. It’ll be fun.

  • White American life expectacy dropped by 1.4 years
  • Black Americans, 3.25 years

At least we’re consistent with our racism: hurt Black folks first and worst, amirite Trump? Those 500,000+ real live dead Americans were all worth it because we obviously hurt Black folks more than whites. Let the rejoicing among the racists begin. Mission accomplished.

Of course, the US life expectancy was already three fucking years lower than that of other developed countries. Trump’s genocidal mania increased it to five years! I guess he was the best at something. Whatever, god loves us best; it’s obvious, isn’t it?

More context: when life expectancy changes by 0.1 years, everyone sits up and pays attention because it is considered a huge change. A tenth of a year, 1.2 months, is considered a significant change in a countries life expectancy. A change of a real year is considered nothing short of horrific. The sign of a true catastrophe on the scale of World War II (just under 300,000 US citizens died in WWII, I’m just saying).

Here’s the thing, for the US to be so far behind its peers, we have to be doing something fundamentally wrong. It is telling us that life in the US is so gawd-fucking-awful that we are killing people unnecessarily. These problems are called the social determinents of health and it’s not like they’re some kind of mystery. We’ve been studying them for years. From the websites of the CDC and HHS’s Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion:

The Social Determinants of Health

The social determinants of health are the environmental conditions that affect a variety of health outcomes and quality-of-life risks. The environments can be anywhere that people reside, work, play, go to school, shop, or exist. The US government has developed five domains (other people have more) for the SDOH’s. These include

  • Healthcare access and quality
  • Education access and quality
  • Social and community contexts
  • Economic stability
  • The neighborhood and built environment

When you look at the US as a whole, as many researchers and institutions have, you find that we have huge disadvantages compared to our “peer” countries. It’s like we’re shooting ourselves in the dick and crowing about how great a shot we are. USA! USA! USA! We’re number one. It’s like we’re the bullying idiot cousin at the family reunion.

Apparently, every aspect of life in the US — that is as measured by any means you choose — is so toxic it is way worse than any other developed affluent country. Life in the US is so stressful in terms of childcare, public transportation, access to basic nutrition, water and air quality, school quality it has a terrific and horrific effect on mortality and chronic diseases.

The Republican Response to the #COVID19 Pandemic

Think about the GQP reaction to the #COVID19 pandemic and relief efforts. They don’t want people doing mitigation things like wearing masks and social distancing and getting vaccinated. They made getting PPE harder during the pandemic. They made medical resources harder to access. They’re cutting off supplemental unemployment insurance and opposing improving childcare options. They want to take away the ACA. They haven’t expanded Medicaid.

Everything they do has one common denominator: it helps the rich get richer at the expense of the middle and lower classes. They sell poor whites on the sacrifice by using racist dog whistles and promoting social strife.

They’ve taken LBJ’s maxim to heart and implemented it with a vicious efficiency:

“If you can convince the lowest white man he’s better than the best colored man, he won’t notice you’re picking his pocket. Hell, give him somebody to look down on, and he’ll empty his pockets for you.”

Watching MAGA Nation commit slow suicide by eagerly embracing the Republican Authoritarian Dystopia has got to be one of the most traumatic experiences of my life. Feel free to try to express the horror of watching the US go down in flames while the GQP hands buckets of gasoline to their MAGA to put it out with.

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Image Attribution

“American Bird of Prey – The Turkey Vulture Capitalist” by DonkeyHotey is licensed under CC BY 2.0

20 replies »

  1. Yes, BMJ is the British Medical Journal.

    Falling life expectancy was one of the objective predictors of the fall of the Soviet system. Military, political, and economic events were inherently hard to interpret at the time (hindsight is always 20/20, of course) for assessments of how their system was really doing, but a system that is failing at keeping its people alive is obviously failing systematically. Even before COVID, the US was struggling with life expectancy compared to even less wealthy nations. It’s not just Trump, though Lord knows he is the extreme, the exemplar, and the epitome of our system’s failures.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Howdy Gee!

      The US has been failing for quite some time. Our life expectancy was 3 times shorter than that of the average of developed countries, post-COVID19 it is five times shorter. Like so many other trnds, #COVID19 just made them worser.

      It is apparent that the GQP and their wealthy backers are no longer concerned with ensuring the US lead the world or remain competative. They only are interested in further enriching the 1% by transferring the wealth of the nation to them as quickly as possible like some common third-world authoritarian tin-pot dictator like Putin.

      Unfortunately, we will continue in this struggle unless and until the GQP is soundly defeated at the ballot box… or they win the House, Senate, and WH again. Even if the the GQP is dissolved the regressive forces that they represent will continue.

      The chief issues that we fight are the assumptions that (a) all Americans support democracy; (b) we all want America to remain the leader of the free world; and (c) the GQP will play fair. It is the disbelief that our norms will hold that paralyzes the moderates. It is the disbelief that anyone would tell a Big Lie (straight out of Hitler’s propaganda playbook) or undermine our democracy that placates the disinterested, disengaged, disaffected iDePeNdEnT vOtEr.


      PS I really appreciate your taking the time to write. It means a lot to me. I hope to see you drop in from time to time.


  2. Gee, I just mentioned this in my just written comment on another post referencing structural racism. But, there’s more: In the GOP, it seems that it is better for people to die than for their money donors to pay more taxes.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Howdy Bob!

      I used to be sarcastic and snarky, but now it’s just true when I say the GQP wants a single-party, pseudo-democratic, minority-rule autocracy where they transfer the nation’s wealth to the 1% as quickly as possible and the rest of us die as quickly and quietly as possible when we start costing more than we contribute. Seriously, it is their plan.


      Liked by 1 person

      • On “Morning Edition” on NPR today there is a piece about a surge in job listings for Human Resources positions, more even than in some of the other areas. That term struck me, “human resources”, not “human beings”, not “employee management”, not “team recruitment”. No, we are just a resource to be exploited.

        I also realized that one factor that is not ever mentioned in discussions of the “labor shortage”, the 600,000+ people lost to COVID and a significant percentage of those who have survived the illness who have “Long Haul” symptoms which reduce their ability to work.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Howdy Bob!

          The 600,000+ deaths that we’ve suffered and 34 million+ infections have a ripple effect in that family members and friends suffer because of them. That suffering can be debilitating keeping people from full employment. Families are grieving their losses, some of them suffering complex grief. But, not just their dead but their significantly altered lives after either they’ve been ill with #COVID19 or family members have been. We grieve for what we thought or assumed would be that #COVID19 made impossible either through long-term effects of illness or changes in economic conditions like failed buisnesses and lost jobs or altered social situations.

          The effect that the pandemic had on the social determinants of health has been staggering. Stress is way way up. We will continue to feel the effects for a generation. And, all because we elected and refused to remove an extreme narcissist.


          Liked by 1 person

          • And, it is nowhere near over. The Delta Variant is meeting the un-vaccinated here and abroad. Here, the resulting outbreaks will likely be local, but still overwhelm hospitals and so on. I think it is not enough to say that stress is up. We have PTSD, and not just from the pandemic. Our Western states are under record breaking heat with no end in sight and record fire activity (and the fire fighting resources already fully deployed). Oh, and the first hurricane of the season is brewing. What are people to make of an apartment building on the Florida coast suddenly collapsed? That happens in third world slums, not to prosperous Americans. And so, we fight over voting laws and whether trans kids can be on sports teams.

            Liked by 1 person

            • Howdy Bob!

              The US is literally coming apart at its seams and all the GQP can do is harp on white grievance politics. It tells you that they want us to come apart at the seams. They no longer care whether the US leads the free world or remains among the great powers. They see us as a cost-profit center for building the fortunes of the 1%. Being a super power and leader of the free world no longer is a profitible business.

              The collapse of the Maimi Beach condo is a warning to us all. Climate change will spare no one who doesn’t have a luxury survival shelter already built. Outside of that elite few, we are all expendible.


              Liked by 1 person

              • Pretty much how it looks. And some of their most reliable voters don’t get it that they too are expendable. And those luxury survival shelters? Well, what do those would be Prince Prosperos (ref: Edgar Allan Poe, The Masque Of The Red Death) do when they come out and find there is nobody left to restock their supplies? Will they have saved enough slaves?

                An odd thought: Poe’s description of the symptoms of the Red Death does quite resemble Ebola.

                Liked by 1 person

                • Howdy Bob!

                  I’ve always loved those 19th century writers, Poe, Verne, Wells, and Lovecraft. They had the most interesting takes on the human condition and where we were headed. Although, Poe’s Red Death’s resemblence to Ebola is largely coincidental just like Koontz’ “prediction” of #COVID19 being developed in Wuhan. Those guys took what they knew and applied to real life to develop some great insights.

                  The rich just figure they have enough money to buy their comfort no matter what the circumstances. It is impossible for them to imagine a world where that is not true.


                  Liked by 1 person

                  • As I think you have also pointed out, the research clearly finds that wealth also tends to reduce empathy. I’m sure it also tends to work against the imagination of any course other than business as usual.

                    Liked by 1 person

                    • Howdy Bob!

                      People tend to think of themselves as average. It is one reason Romney kept sticking his foot in his mouth in the 2012 election by wanting to bet $10,000.00 and borrow money from your dad to go to school if you didn’t have it. The problems of the proloteriat are easily solved when you’re a millionaire, so if they are struggling it must be a character flaw… no empathy for that!


                      Liked by 1 person

                    • The difficulty has been noticed many times and never solved for long.

                      “An imbalance between rich and poor is the oldest and most fatal ailment of all republics.” Plutarch

                      Liked by 1 person

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