Published: Thu, February 18, 2021
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Total human death told of COVID-19 so far, in years

Total human death told of COVID-19 so far, in years

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Thursday released statistics indicating over-all life expectancy dropped by one full year in the first half off 2020, the biggest drop since World War II.

The numbers show that minorities in America suffered the biggest impact, with African-Americans losing almost three years and Hispanics, almost two years of life expectancy.

But the toll of the pandemic can not be understated with more than 347,000 dying due to COVID-19 a year ago in addition to indirect pandemic deaths.

This is a level lower than what it was in 2006, the first year for which life expectancy estimates for Hispanic Americans were produced.

The life expectancy dropped from 78.8 years for the average American in 2019 to 77.8 years for the first half of 2020.

"It was disturbing to see that gains that have been made for the Black community and decreasing the gap between life expectancy for African Americans and (white) Americans over the past six years had come to a halt", said Dr. Leon McDougle, president of the National Medical Association. Meanwhile, white Americans lost less than a year (from 78.8 to 78.0), according to the report. By the age of 85, the gender gap in life expectancy shrinks to about six months. It's already known that 2020 was the deadliest year in US history, with deaths topping 3 million for the first time.

Life expectancy- Figure_1.001
National Center for Health Statistics

For more information about life expectancy rates and trends, visit the CDC's report online.

They're more likely to be in front-line, low-wage jobs and living in crowded environments where it's easier for the coronavirus to spread, and "there are stark, preexisting health disparities" that raise their risk of dying of COVID-19, she said.

Analysis by the Brookings Institution published past year said: "In every age category, black people are dying from Covid at roughly the same rate as white people more than a decade older". Conversely, the gap between Hispanic Americans and white Americans decreased by 37%, from 3 to 1.9 years, according to the report. Included in those statistics are an uptick in fatal strokes and heart attacks and a record number of drug overdose deaths, 81,000 from May 2019 to May 2020.

As a group, Latinos in the US have had the most longevity and still do.

Additionally, in 25 states, opioid-related deaths have soared by more than 20 percent over the 12-month period.

"If you'll recall, in recent pre-pandemic years there were slight drops in life expectancy due in part to the rise in overdose deaths", explains NCHC spokesperson Jeff Lancashire in an email to NPR.

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