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It's Official: Life expectancy drops two years in 2020

Since COVID-19 first showed up on the global radar in 2019 and in the U.S. in early 2020, we have been feeling the effects of this virus around the globe.

We know that the elderly and infirm are among the most vulnerable when it comes to COVID, which has taken the lives of over 725,000 people in the US alone, as of October 2021. The U.S. death toll stands as one of the highest rates in the world.

Now, according to a new university-medical study, recently published by the British Medical Association (BMA), COVID, as we all might expect, is also taking years off our lives, with the average mortality age dropping.

The study evaluated data from nations across the globe and studied subsects of those populations. The data is only inclusive of 2020 and does not yet touch mortality in 2021.

Life expectancy is typically calculated by the average life span of someone born during a given time and adjusted for common types of death like car accidents. When a pandemic like this one happens, it is often difficult to calculate completely accurate numbers.

Led by UCLA Sociology Professor, Patrick Hueveline, the analysis determined that the average life expectancy in the US appears to have has declined by just more than one and a quarter years, with a heavier toll in Texas, where the life expectancy dropped nearly double that, with Arizona and South Dakota, right behind that.

Professor Hueveline told the BMA, “As did a few other demographers, I initially tried to convey the mortality impact of COVID-19 by assessing how much life expectancies would decline during the pandemic. When mortality conditions are continuously changing, however, life expectancies are hard to interpret, and I wanted to provide a more intuitive indicator of that mortality impact."

Among other U.S. States in 2020, New York, New Jersey, and Massachusetts also experienced a high life expectancy drop, representing around 2 years. These were among the first U.S. states stricken by the pandemic and experienced more COVID deaths in 2020.

US average life expectancy

The life expectancy in the US has not dropped this low since 2005 and has not had such a steep drop since World War II. Not even during the AIDs epidemic or opioid crisis did life expectancy drop so rapidly.

The U.S. is not alone, as there has also been a population decline across the Atlantic as well.

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