Updated analysis of US deaths from COVID-19 shows falls, disparities in life expectancy

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Estimates for 2020 are the authors ’life expectancy calculations using COVID-19 deaths reported to the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS). The absent scenario of COVID-19 is assumed to be the mortality conditions of 2018. Credit: Andrasfay and Goldman, 2021

An updated analysis of U.S. deaths from COVID-19 throughout 2020 reveals an even greater drop in average life expectancy, as well as still substantial disparities by race and ethnicity.

Lead author Theresa Andrasfay, a postdoctoral fellow at USC’s Leonard Davis School of Gerontology, and co-author Noreen Goldman of Princeton University examined for the first time the effect of the pandemic on the United States. in October 2020. His initial study, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences January 2021, showed the largest one-year decline in life expectancy at least 40 years and the lowest estimated life expectancy since 2003

The updated analysis, which included the more than 380,000 deaths from U.S. COVID-19 in 2020 and used life expectancy in 2018 as a comparison, indicates that COVID-19 reduced in 1.31 years (with respect to the initial estimate of 1.13 years lost) to 77.43 years. Reductions in they are more than three times larger for Latinos (3.03 years) and twice as large for the black population (1.90 years) compared to whites (0.94 years).

“The impacts on life expectancy are likely to be even greater once excess mortality from other causes is taken into account.” Andrasfay warned.

The geographical change in the impact of the pandemic since last autumn has meant a significant difference in the total loss, as well as for whites, who were previously predicted to lose 0.68 years on average.

“Since our October 2020 projections, the disproportionate white states of the Midwest and the Mountain have experienced growth in COVID-19 cases and deaths,” Andrasfay explained. “As a result, the disparities aren’t as big as we initially projected, but they’re still staggering.”

As noted in the previous study, black and Latino Americans have experienced a disproportionate burden of coronavirus infections and deaths, reflecting persistent structural inequalities that increase the risk of exposure to and of COVID-19. The particularly significant decrease in average life expectancy among Latinos is probably due to social and economic inequalities that lead to increased exposure to infection and higher mortality among those infected. Compared to black and white populations, Latinos have lower health insurance rates, are more likely to live in multigenerational or crowded households, and are more likely to occupy front-line positions at risk of COVID exposure. -19, Andrasfay noted.

“Life expectancy is a metric of mortality at the population level in a given year and is sensitive to deaths at younger ages,” Andrasfay explained. “Although COVID-19 disproportionately killed older Americans, a considerable number of younger black Americans and Latinos ended up with COVID-19, which contributed to a reduction in life expectancy. for these populations “.

Andrasfay and Goldman also examined data from the first months of 2021, which showed that average life expectancy is still affected by the pandemic.

“While it is too early to estimate life expectancy in 2021, deaths that occurred in the first three months of 2021 already indicate that 2021 will have a reduced life expectancy compared to pre-pandemic levels. , and substantial ethnic and racial differences in these reductions persist, “Andrasfay said. “The final impact of COVID-19 on 2021 life expectancy in the United States will depend on whether there is sufficient and equitable vaccination in the United States. To look to the future beyond COVID-19, reduce racial disparities in life expectancy requires investments beyond health, including a commitment to making the economy more equitable. ”

The study “Association of the COVID-19 Pandemic with Estimated Life Expectancy by Race / Ethnicity in the United States, 2020,” appeared on June 24, 2021 in JAMA network open.


COVID-19 reduced U.S. life expectancy, especially among black and Latino populations


More information:
Theresa Andrasfay et al, COVID-19 Pandemic Association with Estimated Life Expectancy by Race / Ethnicity in the United States, 2020, JAMA network open (2021). DOI: 10.1001 / jamanetworkopen.2021.14520

Citation: Updated analysis of U.S. deaths by COVID-19 shows falls, disparities in half-life (2021, June 24) retrieved June 24, 2021 at https://medicalxpress.com/news/2021-06 -analysis-covid-deaths-disparities-average .html

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