2021-09-18 22:50:31 Alabama Deaths Outpaced Births in 2020 Because of Covid, Top Official Says
Alabama Deaths Outpaced Births in 2020 Because of Covid, Top Official Says
For the first time in Alabama’s recorded history, the state had more deaths than births in 2020, a sobering milestone that emphasizes the pandemic’s calamitous toll.
“Our state literally shrunk in 2020,” Alabama’s state health officer, Dr. Scott Harris, said at a news conference on Friday. According to Dr. Harris, there were 64,714 total deaths in the state last year, compared to 57,641 births.
Such a chasm had never been recorded before, not even during World War I, World War II, or the 1918 flu pandemic, according to Dr. Harris. “We’ve never had a time when deaths exceeded births,” he said, going back to the earliest available records in 1900.
Nationally, the birthrate fell for the sixth year in a row in 2020, and some experts believe the pandemic is hastening the decline. According to a study conducted by the University of New Hampshire, half of the 50 U.S. states had more deaths than births in 2020, compared to only five states having more deaths than births in 2019.
According to data from the Alabama Department of Public Health, Covid was officially responsible for 7,182 deaths in Alabama last year.
Dr. Harris dismissed arguments that Covid deaths were being misrepresented in a town hall discussion with Al.com, Alabama’s largest digital news site, on Wednesday.
“We get skeptics who say, ‘Oh well, those were just old people who were going to die anyway, and you’re just attributing their deaths to Covid,’” he explained. “No, that isn’t the case.”
According to a New York Times database, Alabama has recently averaged about 60 deaths per day, and only 41 percent of the state’s eligible population is fully vaccinated.
Alabama and Idaho both have the third-lowest rate of full vaccination in the country. Wyoming and West Virginia are the two lowest ranked states.
Alabama Governor Kay Ivey has urged her state’s residents to get Covid vaccinations, but she, like many other Republicans, objected to President Biden’s recent announcement of vaccine mandates, calling them “outrageous” and “overreaching.”