Covid Pandemic Slashes Life Expectancy — Here’s Where It Fell The Most

According to research published by the International Journal of Epidemiology in the International Journal of Epidemiology (IJE), the Covid-19 pandemic led to one of the largest drops in life expectancy in history. The greatest losses were suffered by American women and men.

Covid has reduced life expectancy in many countries, but not disproportionately among men. AFP via Getty Images

The Key Facts

According to demographic data, only Denmark and Norway saw a decline in life expectancy between 2020 and 2021, out of 29 countries that were studied by Oxford researchers. The U.S. recorded the biggest losses in both men and women2.2 years and 1.65 years compared to 2019 levels, respectivelysomething Ridhi Kashyap, co-lead author of the study, said could be partly explained by the notable increase in deaths among working aged people due to Covid-19. In most countries, men experienced a greater drop in life expectancy than women. This was true in 11 countries while it was eight for women. The biggest drop in life expectancy after the U.S. was for women in Spain, Poland, and Lithuania. These countries saw a decline of 1.5 years or more. Jos Manuel Aburto, the co-lead author of the study, stated that these countries took an average of 5.8 years to see a 1-year improvement in their life expectancy. This was despite the fact that Covid-19 had wiped out the progress in 2020.

Important Quote

Aburto stated that Covid-driven losses in many Western European countries, such as Spain, England and Wales, Italy, Belgium, were so severe that it was only during WW-II that such drastic declines in life expectancy at the birth occurred.

Important Background

Countries that managed to avoid drops in life expectancy, which partly included Finland, which stopped a decline of women's lives only, had strong healthcare systems and implemented non-pharmaceutical interventions early. These factors were likely to have contributed to the country's success, according to researchers. It is not surprising that the U.S. has suffered the largest drop in life expectancy. It has experienced the highest number of Covid-19-related deaths than any other country. This burden has, like many health problems,disproportionately affected people of color. Studies in the past have shown that the U.S. has suffered a much worse drop in life expectancy compared to other high-income countries like the U.K. or Sweden. Despite a large vaccine supply and all adults (and many children) being eligible for vaccinations for many months, the U.S. is still experiencing a surge in hospitalizations and deaths.

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The life expectancy loss study of 29 countries reveals the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Covid Pandemic Causes U.S. Life Expectancy to Fall 1.5 Years, but Black and Hispanic Americans Facing a Steaper Drop, CDC Study (Forbes).

According to CDC (Forbes), American Fertility and Birth Rates Drop To All Time Lows During the Covid Pandemic.

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