US life expectancy fell by a year in the first half of 2020, CDC report finds
18 February, 2021, 22:40
Life expectancy in the United States fell by a full year during the first half of 2020, a new report finds. Black men suffered the largest decline, with life expectancy dropping by three years between January and June 2020.
Life expectancy is how long a baby born today can expect to live, on average.
People of color suffered the biggest impact, with Black Americans losing almost three years of life expectancy and Latinos losing almost two years, according to preliminary estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. For females, life expectancy declined to 80.5 years, a 0.9 year decrease from 2019. The CDC indicates, based on the latest numbers, US residents can now expect to live as long as they did in 2006. Because the NCHS wanted to assess the effects of 2020's increase in deaths, for the first time it published its life expectancy tables based on provisional death certificate data, rather than final counts. It's already known that 2020 was the deadliest year in US history, with deaths topping 3 million for the first time.
Among races in the US, life expectancy decreased the most for the black population while the white population saw the lowest decline. Health experts said that when the coronavirus pandemic subsides in the United States they expect that to occur.
A CNN story said, "Covid-19 variants are threatening to cause another surge of infections, health officials warned Wednesday, and it's now more important than ever for Americans to continue practicing safety measures that work against the spread of the virus".
This is the lowest figure seen for USA males' life expectancy since 2006.
Meanwhile the smallest decreases were among white men and women - of 0.8 years and 0.7 years respectively.
Analysis by the Brookings Institution published past year said: "In every age category, black people are dying from Covid at roughly the same rate as white people more than a decade older". One is that the data is from the first six months of 2020 - so it does not reflect the entirety of the COVID-19 pandemic. "And healthcare needs to be defined as prevention as well as treatment", he said.
"The disparities between those populations have been declining consistently, since we began estimating life expectancy, which goes back to 1900", she said.
"If you'll recall, in recent pre-pandemic years there were slight drops in life expectancy due in part to the rise in overdose deaths", explains NCHC spokesperson Jeff Lancashire in an email to NPR.
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