US life expectancy drops during beginning of COVID-19 pandemic

A Healthy You

(WEHT) – Life expectancy in the United States dropped by one year in the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. Life expectancy is the average number of years that a person is expected to live at birth. In the US, it was 78.8 years overall in 2019, but dropped to 77.8 years in the first half of 2020, undoing almost two decades of progress. Not only that, the winter surge likely worsened things. CDC experts said this is the largest decline since World War Two.

The decline was worse for ethnic minorities, with an almost 3-year drop for the Black population and almost two years for the Hispanic community. The COVID-19 pandemic is blamed for more than 500,000 deaths in the U.S. For context, an estimated 675,000 people died from the 1918 Spanish flu.

(This story was originally published on March 16, 2021)

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