Friday, July 23, 2021

CDC confirms largest drop in life expectancy since World War II during 2020, a pandemic update

I reported that life expectancy fell 1 year for all Americans, 3 years for African-Americans, during 2020 because of the pandemic. While I updated this grim news in U.S. birth and fertility rates and life expectancy all fell in 2020 for a late World Population Day, I didn't base it on the latest CDC data. That came out this week, which NJ Spotlight News featured in US life expectancy sees biggest drop in generations.

People of color are seeing the biggest drop, with Black Americans and Hispanics now having a life expectancy roughly three years lower than in 2019. Hispanic males saw the biggest drop, at 3.7 years.
For more details, watch CBS New York's report U.S. Life Expectancy Sees Staggering Drop Due To Pandemic.

New government data shows life expectancy in the U.S. has reached the lowest level since 2003, with people living on average just over 77 years. The biggest culprit? COVID deaths. CBS2's Jessica Layton reports.
For even more detail, I turn to the Associated Press in the Detroit News.
The drop spelled out by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is due mainly to the COVID-19 pandemic, which health officials said is responsible for close to 74% of the overall life expectancy decline. More than 3.3 million Americans died last year, far more than any other year in U.S. history, with COVID-19 accounting for about 11% of those deaths.
When I quoted USA Today reporting "more than 3 million people died in 2020 - the deadliest year in US history" in A pandemic update from Michigan as vaccinations ramp up while U.S. death toll passes 400,000, neither my source nor I were being pessimistic enough.

Just because the pandemic is responsible for most of the drop, other causes, like the opioid epidemic and systemic racism making the pandemic worse for minorities, played roles in lowering life expectancy.
Killers other than COVID-19 played a role. Drug overdoses pushed life expectancy down, particularly for whites. And rising homicides were a small but significant reason for the decline for Black Americans, said Elizabeth Arias, the report's lead author.

Other problems affected Black and Hispanic people, including lack of access to quality health care, more crowded living conditions, and a greater share of the population in lower-paying jobs that required them to keep working when the pandemic was at its worst, experts said.
Last year's excess mortality will have long-lasting effects on the survivors, as CBS Evening News reported in Study finds over 100,000 U.S. children lost a parent during pandemic.

More than 100,000 children in the U.S. have lost at least one parent from the COVID-19 pandemic. The news comes as the U.S. saw its largest drop in life expectancy since World War II. Mireya Villarreal shares more.
Loss of parents from the pandemic has had a disproportionate impact on minorities as well. That's another reason why returning to the pre-pandemic normal isn't good enough.

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