COVID-19 contributes the biggest decline in US life expectancy in decades

The life expectancy in the U.S. fell by about two years from 2018 to 2020, a decline blamed on the COVID-19 outbreak and the ripple effect the virus had on daily life.

Steven Woolf, who is from the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine and an author of the study, said a similar decline has not been seen since WWII, according to NPR.

“It’s a horrific decrease in life expectancy,” he said. 

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The study, which was published in the British Medical Journal, said the U.S. had a much larger decrease in life expectancy in the timeframe than other high-income nations, “with pronounced losses among Hispanic and non-Hispanic Black populations.”

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Woolf pointed to several factors that contributed to the death that included “disruptions in health care, disruptions in chronic disease management, and behavioral health crisis, where people struggling with addiction disorders or depression might not have gotten that help they needed.”

The average life expectancy in the U.S. back in 2018 was about 79 and by the end of 2020 was about 77. 

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