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Mortality

America, Land Of The Dying?

With its economic and military might, America is hard to beat on technological wonders, space exploration, and top-notch universities. But when it comes to health, a fundamental prerequisite to a fulfilling life, the US isn’t delivering and hasn’t been for a long time. Researchers now find that the big picture of health failings is even graver than we already knew. Piles of studies have called attention to the fact that in the country ranking number one in healthcare spending per capita, people are living shorter lives, feeling more depressed, and are more likely to skip treatment due to cost than in many developed nations. In a performance ranking of 11 high-income countries compiled by the Commonwealth Fund in 2021, the American healthcare system came in dead last, with the worst outcomes of any of the nations studied.

COVID-19: The Poor People’s Pandemic

Soon after the first pandemic wave subsided, COVID-19 turned from the “great equalizer” to a poor people’s pandemic in the United States, shows a recent report published by the Poor People’s Campaign (PPC). The report brings a detailed analysis of how the pandemic affected poor and low income communities in the US, asking if their experiences are being taken into consideration at all, regardless of whether we are looking at pandemic response or post-pandemic re-building. The Poor People’s Pandemic Report is focused on the data and lived experience of people in the 1,000 poorest counties in the US, shining a light on the intersections between poverty and the pandemic. Some of the counties highlighted in the report have a very small population, which means they are not included in the official Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports.

Record-Breaking Heat Waves Have Arrived Decades Earlier Than Predicted

The heat waves of 2021, which have pummeled western regions of the United States and Canada, have killed, at a minimum, hundreds of people. In British Columbia, authorities recorded a spike in deaths in the nearly 500-range after temperatures soared to near 120 degrees; and in both Oregon and Washington State, dozens more are known to have died. Yet those numbers, horrific as they are, do not tell the full story of the devastation caused by this summer’s record-breaking temperatures caused by a climate catastrophe that, until recently, even the most pessimistic climatologists thought was still two or three decades out. Indeed, the mortality data show that recent deaths were not simply a result of just one extreme “heat event.”

The New U.S. Maternal Mortality Rate Fails To Capture Many Deaths

Late last month, maternal health experts from around Illinois were videoconferencing in Chicago and Springfield, poring over the files of expectant and new mothers who’d died in the state in 2017. Many of the deaths could have been prevented if only medical and other providers had understood the special risks that women face during this critically vulnerable time.
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