COVID-19 Has Cut Average Life Expectancy in America

  • COVID-19 Has Cut Average Life Expectancy in America

COVID-19 Has Cut Average Life Expectancy in America

Life expectancy in America had already shown signs of stalling in the years before the coronavirus, after rising steadily for most of the period since World War II. That drop may worsen as they factor in the second half of 2020, health officials said. They will get worse for everyone, but because the deaths in the first half of the year were concentrated in areas with large Black and Latino populations, there will probably be a greater share of white deaths in the full-year numbers, the NCHS's Elizabeth Arias, lead author of the paper, told The Washington Post.

Caucasian Americans saw the smallest decline of just 0.8 years fro 78.8 years to 78.0 last year.

Arias said the differences in life expectancy among racial groups were particularly striking, as the Covid-19 pandemic took a disproportionate toll on communities of color. The gap in life expectancy between sexes increased from 5.1 years in 2019 to 5.4 in 2020.

The provisional estimates were calculated by the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics using death records in the USA from January through June 2020. Non-Hispanic Black females saw a life expectancy decline of 2.3 years, and Hispanic females faced a decline of 1.1 years. Conversely, the gap between Hispanic Americans and white Americans decreased by 37%, from 3 to 1.9 years, according to the report.

"Life expectancy at birth. may be underestimated since the populations more severely affected, Hispanic and non-Hispanic black populations, are more likely to live in urban areas", the report says. The preliminary report did not analyze trends for Asian Americans or Native Americans.

Public health experts says the deaths are due to coronavirus, indirect pandemic deaths and overdoses.

Researchers from a university in Barcelona came to this grim conclusion by summing up the estimated years lost for more than 1.2 million deaths from COVID-19, in 81 different countries.

Because males as well as black and Hispanic people are more likely to have deaths related to the virus, it would help explain why life expectancy rates fell dramatically in these populations.

"The focus really needs to be broad spread of getting every American adequate care".

Overall, the drop in life expectancy is more evidence of "our mishandling of the pandemic", Brawley said.

Not enough use of masks, early reliance on drugs such as hydroxychloroquine, "which turned out to be worthless", and other missteps meant many Americans died needlessly, Brawley said.