COVID-19, Overdoses Pushed US to Highest Death Total Ever More cheery news.... 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. The agency this month quietly updated its provisional death tally. It showed there were 3.465 million deaths last year, or about 80,000 more than 2020's record-setting total. Early last year, some experts were optimistic that 2021 would not be as bad as the first year of the pandemic — partly because effective COVID-19 vaccines had finally become available. "We were wrong, unfortunately," said Noreen Goldman, a Princeton University researcher. 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 number of Americans refused to get vaccinated or were hesitant to wear masks, experts said. .... One study looked at death data in the U.S. and 19 other high-income countries. The U.S. fared the worst. "What happened in the U.S. is less about the variants than the levels of resistance to vaccination and the public's rejection of practices, such as masking and mandates, to reduce viral transmission," one of the study's authors, Dr. Steven Woolf of Virginia Commonwealth University, said in a statement. Imagine that... Need I quote Forest Gump yet again...