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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention put out its latest life expectancy and death rate numbers this morning, and the figures are pretty grim.

The bottom line: "Life expectancy declined in the U.S. for the second consecutive year in 2016" from 78.7 years to 78.6 years, the CDC said. "This was the first time life expectancy in the U.S. has declined two years in a row since declines in 1962 and 1963."

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  • One major reason Americans are dying sooner on average: the opioid epidemic. The death rate from drug overdoses was 21% higher in 2016 than in 2015.
  • It's affecting people of all ages, and no state had a higher drug overdose death rate than West Virginia (52 deaths per 100,000 people, or 2.5 times higher than the national rate).
  • Dying from unintentional injuries — like car crashes or drug overdoses — is now the third-leading cause of death.
  • Heart disease and cancer remain the leading killers, but death rates from those diseases actually declined from 2015 to 2016.

Go deeper

23 mins ago - Politics & Policy

GOP leaders skip Trump sendoff in favor of church with Biden

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) in July. Photo by Erin Scott-Pool/Getty Images

Congressional leaders, including House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, will skip President Trump's departure ceremony in Maryland tomorrow morning in favor of attending mass with incoming President Joe Biden ahead of his inauguration, congressional sources familiar with their plans tell Axios.

Why it matters: Their decision is a clear sign of unity before Biden takes the oath of office.

26 mins ago - World

U.S. declares China's actions against Uighurs "genocide"

A protester in London. Photo Hasan Esen/Anadolu Agency via Getty

With just one day left in President Trump's term, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has officially determined that China's campaign of mass internment, forced labor and forced sterilization of over 1 million Muslim minorities in Xinjiang constitutes "genocide" and "crimes against humanity."

Why it matters: The U.S. has become the first country to adopt these terms to describe the Chinese Communist Party's gross human rights abuses in its far northwest.

Biden's pick for intel chief commits to public assessment of QAnon threat

Avril Haines, President-elect Biden's nominee for director of national intelligence, pledged at her Senate confirmation hearing Tuesday to conduct a public assessment of the threat of the far-right QAnon conspiracy theory.

Why it matters: Many members of the pro-Trump mob involved in the deadly Jan. 6 Capitol siege were seen sporting symbols referencing QAnon, a sprawling and baseless conspiracy theory that purports that President Trump is fighting a vast deep-state cabal of pedophiles.