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Life Expectancy in the United States Decreases by One Year in a Pandemic Since World War II


Minorities were most affected, with black Americans losing almost three years and Hispanics losing almost two years, according to a preliminary estimate Thursday from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“This is a huge reduction,” said Robert Anderson, who oversees the CDC figures. “To find such a decline, we must return to World War II in the 1940s.”

“What’s really very impressive about these numbers is that they only reflect the first half of this year … I think these numbers will only get worse,” said a health inequalist researcher in California. University of San Francisco.

This is the first time the CDC has reported on life expectancy from an early partial record. More death certificates may arrive from that period. It is already known that 2020 was the worst year in US history, with more than 3 million deaths for the first time.

Life expectancy is how long a baby born today can live on average. In the first half of last year, the total number of Americans was 77.8 years, a decrease of one year from 78.8 years in 2019. It was 75.1 years for men and 80.5 years for women.

As a group, Hispanics in the United States have, and still do, have the longest lives. Currently, blacks are six years behind in life expectancy, reversing the tendency to approach their numbers since 1993.

From 2019 to the first half of 2020, life expectancy for blacks decreased by 2.7 years to 72 years. It decreased to 1.9 years for Hispanics, 0.8 years for Caucasians, and 78 years. The preliminary report does not analyze trends in Asia. Or Native American.

“Black and Hispanic communities across the United States are at the mercy of this pandemic,” said Bibins-Domingo.

They are likely to have low-paying jobs at the forefront and live in a crowded environment where the virus is prone to spread, “in other conditions there are serious existing health inequalities” and an increased risk of dying. .. COVID-19, she said.

She said more needs to be done to distribute vaccines fairly, improve working conditions, better protect minorities from infections, and include them in financial remedies.

Dr. Otis Broley, a cancer expert and professor of public health at Johns Hopkins University, agreed.

“The focus really needs to be a widespread spread of proper care for all Americans, and health care needs to be defined as prevention as well as treatment,” he said.

Overall, lower life expectancy is more evidence of a “mishandling of a pandemic,” Broley said.

“We have been more devastated by the coronavirus than any other country. We are 4% of the world’s population and more than 20% of the world’s coronavirus deaths,” he said.

Adequate use of masks, early dependence on drugs such as “turned out worthless” hydroxychloroquine, and other failures meant that many Americans died unnecessarily, Brawley said. Stated.

“From now on, we need to do very basic things like hand washing, physical distance, vaccination, etc. as soon as possible to get prevention back on track,” he said.


Marilynn Marchione can be followed on Twitter: @MMarchioneAP


The Associated Press’s Department of Health Sciences is supported by the Department of Science Education at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. AP is solely responsible for all content.


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