How did this many deaths become normal?

The two years that were shaved off of the average life span undid two decades of progress in health, but in 2000, “it didn’t feel like we were living under a horrible mortality regime,” Andrew Noymer, [associate professor of public health] at UC Irvine, told me. “It felt normal.” … [He] thinks that COVID will kill fewer people per year than it has in the past two, but will probably still be more lethal than the flu, which sets a plausible and very wide range of somewhere between 50,000 and 500,000 annual deaths.