Infectious Disease

Life expectancy within the US drops by 1 yr in the course of the pandemic

February 18, 2021

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Arias does not report any relevant financial information. Healio Primary Care was unable to determine the relevant financial information from the other authors prior to publication.

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In the first half of 2020, life expectancy for the entire US population fell by a full year to 77.8 years, according to the CDC.

Black Americans saw the most significant decrease in life expectancy during this period, from 74.7 to 72 years, followed by the Hispanic population, which saw a decrease from 81.8 years to 79.9 years. The life expectancy of the non-Hispanic white population decreased by less than a year – from 78.8 years to 78 years.

Reference: National Vital Statistics System. Vital statistics quick publication. Preliminary life expectancy estimates for January to June 2020.

Elizabeth Arias, PhD, A member of the statistical analysis and research team at the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics and colleagues said the data “does not reflect the total impact of the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic” or other changes in causes of death, such as an increase in deaths by drug overdose by early 2020. The data may disproportionately represent the mortality reported in certain US regions hardest hit by the pandemic at the start, as opposed to regions hit later in the year.

“As a result, life expectancy at birth for the first half of 2020 may be underestimated as the most affected populations, Hispanic and non-Hispanic black populations, are more likely to live in urban areas,” Arias and colleagues wrote.

A November 2019 analysis, based on life expectancy data from the US mortality database from 1959 to 2016 and cause-specific mortality rates from the CDC WONDER database for people aged 25 to 64, found that life expectancy in the US is already declining was. In November 2020, the authors of the Global Burden of Disease Study announced that exposure to risk factors for chronic diseases has increased over the past decade, suggesting that life expectancy may be falling and the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic may materialize, if the lifestyle is not changed aggravated.

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