COVID Shortened U.S. Life Expectancy by Over a Year
By Robert Preidt
FRIDAY, Jan. 15, 2021 (HealthDay News) – The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically shortened life expectancy in the United States, especially among blacks and Hispanics, according to a new study.
With more than 336,000 deaths from COVID-19 nationwide last year, researchers decided to examine the impact of the pandemic on life expectancy.
The projection: Due to deaths from a pandemic, the life expectancy at birth of Americans will decrease by 1.13 years, to 77.48 years.
This is the largest year-long decline in at least 40 years, resulting in the lowest estimated life expectancy since 2003, according to the authors.
Their findings revealed significant racial differences that underscore the pandemic’s heavy toll on minority racial and ethnic groups.
The study projects a drop of 0.68 years in the life expectancy of white Americans to 77.84 years, compared to a drop of 2.1 years for blacks, to 72.78 years, and a drop of 3, 05 years among Hispanics at 78.77 years.
“The disproportionate effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on the life expectancy of blacks and Latin Americans is likely related to their greater exposure through their workplace or extended family contacts, in addition to receiving care from poorer health, leading to more infections and worse outcomes, ”Study author Theresa Andrasfay said in a press release from the University of Southern California. She is a postdoctoral fellow in gerontology at the university.
Researchers predict that the gap between black Americans and white Americans will widen from 3.6 years to more than 5 years.
This is further proof that minorities are particularly affected by the pandemic, according to the results, published on January 14 in the journal. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
“The larger reductions in life expectancy for black and Latin American populations are in part the result of a disproportionate number of deaths at younger ages for these groups,” said study co-author Noreen Goldman , professor of demography and public affairs at Princeton University.
“These findings underscore the need for protective behaviors and programs to reduce potential viral exposure in young individuals who do not perceive themselves to be at high risk,” Goldman added in the statement.
Life expectancy is an important indicator of the health of a population and helps assess the impact of COVID-19 on survival, researchers say. The 1918 influenza pandemic shortened life expectancy from 7 to 12 years, they noted.
“While the arrival of effective vaccines is encouraging, the United States is currently experiencing more daily deaths from COVID-19 than at any other time in the pandemic,” Andrasfay said. “For this reason, and because we predict that there will be long-term health and economic effects that could lead to more severe mortality for many years to come, we predict that there will be persisting on life expectancy in 2021. “
The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on COVID-19.
SOURCE: University of Southern California, press release, January 14, 2021
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