by Steven Reinberg

healthday reporter

WEDNESDAY, July 21, 2021 ( News) — How deadly it really is coronavirus Was there an epidemic in the United States? New research confirms that it has a major role in reducing life expectancy by one and a half years.

This is the lowest level of life expectancy since 2003 and the biggest one-year decline since World War II, researchers from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found.

“It was a very serious event. I mean, a year-and-a-half loss doesn’t sound like much, but it is,” said Elizabeth Arias, a demographer at the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics. NCHS).

“It’s a huge drop and it means that our population is really very affected,” she said. In fact, overall life expectancy declined from around 79 in 2019 to around 77 in 2020.

Not only this, but the life expectancy gap between men and women increased to almost six years during this period. pandemic pandemic. The researchers noted that between 2000 and 2010, the difference narrowed by just under five years.

The decline in life expectancy was mainly due to deaths from COVID-19, which accounted for 74% of the decline, the findings showed.

About 11% of the falls were from accidents and more deaths from unintentional injuries. Drug overdoses account for more than a third of all unintentional injury deaths. more than enough The NCHS reported that more than 93,000 people died in 2020, reaching an all-time high.

Murders are responsible for about 3% drop in life expectancy. Diabetes accounted for 2.5%, and liver disease The researchers found that accounted for more than 2%.

Arius expects the decline in life expectancy to continue for some time.

“If we eliminate COVID completely, we can return to the pattern of mortality like in 2019,” she said. “But it may also be that the pandemic has an indirect effect that we haven’t seen before.”

For example, people who missed checkups and screenings could be diagnosed with diseases at a later stage, as Arias explained.


“We cannot return to the level that we had, even if we get rid of COVID completely,” she said.

Other findings in the report include:

  • Although US Hispanic adults live longer than black or white Americans, these groups experienced the biggest decline in life expectancy in 2020, falling from about 82 years in 2019 to just under 79 years in 2020.
  • Hispanic men’s life expectancy has seen the biggest decline in nearly four years. COVID-19 is responsible for 90% of the decline in Hispanics.
  • The gap in life expectancy between Hispanics and white people largely closed. The gap between Hispanics and black people remained essentially the same.
  • Black people’s life expectancy dropped by nearly three years, from about 75 in 2019 to 72 in 2020. COVID-19 was responsible for 59% of the decline.
  • The disparity in life expectancy between white and black people increased from four years in 2019 to nearly six years in 2020. This gap was closing in the last three decades.
  • The life expectancy of white people declined from about 79 in 2019 to just under 78 in 2020. COVID-19 was responsible for 68% of the decline.

According to Dr. Georges Benjamin, executive director of the American Public Health Association, “In many ways, the report tells us the profound impact of COVID, not only on direct COVID deaths, but certainly, on other diseases that may have intensified.” Losing a year of life expectancy is a big, big deal.”

Benjamin said the country’s anemic response to the pandemic resulted in more deaths than expected.

“Certainly, we would have had fewer deaths from COVID, had we responded more effectively,” he said. “In the beginning, it would have been better if we had more effective national leadership on public health, more aggressive testing and contact tracing. We would still have a pandemic, it would still be bad, but not as bad as it was “

Benjamin said it is important to get people vaccinated against COVID-19, but it is not the total answer to improving life expectancy.


“It’s not just COVID, it’s heart disease, lung disease, cancer‘All those things – we’re not out of it yet, because all the care was delayed during COVID,’ he explained.

Also, Benjamin is not sure that the US has learned its lesson about the pandemic.

“Another one is just around the corner,” he said. “The wrong lesson from this is that this is a 100-year pandemic and we’re not going to see another 100 years – no, no, no, no, no. We had a lot of lapses. We had SARS, monkeypox, West Nile virus, dengue, zika, ebola, which all had the potential for epidemics. We are only a mutation, a plane ride away, from something very, very bad.”

NCHS report on July 21. was published in Vital Statistics Rapid Release.

more information

For more information on US life expectancy, go to head U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

SOURCES: Elizabeth Arias, PhD, Demography, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics, Hyattsville, MD; Georges Benjamin, MD, executive director, American Public Health Association; NCHS’ Vital Statistics Rapid Release, “Provisional Life Expectancy Estimates for 2020,” July 21, 2021 News from

Copyright © 2013-2020 All rights reserved.