Author: Billwilliam Reviewer: Irene
A recent research article in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) projected that a large number of deaths from the CCP virus pandemic would lead to a significant decline in average life expectancy in the US.
Specifically, the average US life expectancy in 2020 would fall by 1.13 years, down to 77.48 years. This is the largest single-year drop in life expectancy in 40 years, bringing the number to its lowest level since 2003. The most recent decline in the US life expectancy occurred in the years from 2015 to 2017, when the number dropped by 0.1 years each year because of drug -overdose and suicide. In comparison, the decline due to the CCP virus is more than 10 times larger.
In addition, the pandemic had a disproportionate effect on certain ethnic groups. African Americans and Latinos suffered greater declines in life expectancy. For example, the projected life expectancy for African Americans would decrease by 2.1 years, to 72.78 years, and the projected life expectancy for Latinos would decrease by 3.05 years to 78.77 years.
African American and Latino populations suffered greater declines in life expectancy because of “a disproportionate number of deaths at younger ages for these groups”, said study co-author Noreen Goldman, a demography and public affairs professor at Princeton University. Goldman emphasized the need for protective programs for young people who may not take the CCP virus seriously.
The authors did not expect the life expectancy to recover immediately, despite the availability of vaccines. Theresa Andrasfay, the study’s co-author and a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Southern California, said, “While the arrival of effective vaccines is hopeful, the US is currently experiencing more daily COVID-19 deaths than at any other point in the pandemic.” Andrasfay also noted that the long-term health and economic effects of the pandemic may lead to a worse mortality rate in the upcoming years. Life expectancy in 2021 may also be negatively affected.
Reductions in 2020 US life expectancy due to COVID-19 and the disproportionate impact on the Black and Latino populations, Theresa Andrasfay and Noreen Goldman.