The average life expectancy in the US slumped last year. This broadened the life expectancy gap between the United States and other high-income nations in the world. The dip in life expectancy was particularly sharp among Black and Hispanic Americans, according to a new study.
The new study surmises that life expectancy in the country diminished by almost two years from 2018 to 2020. This could be attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic. Such declines were underscored among minority groups.
COVID-19 as the Leading Cause of Death
Last year, the novel coronavirus became the third leading cause of fatalities in the United States. It was expected to substantially lower life expectancy in 2020. The country had more fatalities from the coronavirus than any other nation on the globe. It has among the highest per capita mortality rates.
With confirmed cases of the virus plummeting in the US, numerous people are eager to put the pandemic behind them. However, it has inflicted wounds that could not easily be healed, reported Time.
The country experienced the globe's most fatal COVID-19 outbreak. According to the study, the life expectancy of Americans plummeted from 78.74 years in 2018 to 76.87 years last year. This data was obtained from the Centers for Disease and Control Prevention (CDC)'s National Center for Health Statistics and was published in the British Medical Journal, reported Forbes.
The numbers are even worse for people of color. On average, life expectancy ebbed by 1.36 years among white citizens, 3.88 years among Hispanic Americans, and 3.25 years among Black Americans.
The study was co-authored by researchers at the Urban Institute and CU Boulder, Virginia Commonwealth University. The overall decline in life expectancy in the United States was 8.5 times greater than the average decline among 16 other high-income nations in time of the pandemic.
According to health experts, they anticipated the plummeting of life expectancy amid the pandemic but the amount came as a surprise to them. Steven Woolf, director emeritus of the Center on Society and Health at Virginia Commonwealth University, who led the new study, remarked, "I naively thought the pandemic would not make a big difference in the gap because my thinking was that it's a global pandemic, so every country is going to take a hit. What I didn't anticipate was how badly the U.S. would handle the pandemic," per NBC News.
Woolf added that they have not witnessed a decrease like this since World War II and that it is a horrific diminishing in life expectancy.
He also added that beyond the over 600,000 COVID-related fatalities in the United States, other factors still play into the diminished longevity. These involve disruptions in chronic disease management, poor health care services, depression, and behavioral health crises such as addiction disorders. These dilemmas seemed to hit a number of Americans harder than they affected other people in the world.