COVID Lowered Life Expectancy by 1.6 Years Worldwide – New Study

Covid-19 reduced the average life expectancy of people globally by 1.6 years during the first two years of the pandemic, a more drastic reduction than previously anticipated, according to a comprehensive research released Tuesday.

This was a remarkable reversal after decades of rising worldwide life expectancy, according to hundreds of academics poring through data for the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) in the United States.

“For adults worldwide, the Covid-19 pandemic has had a more profound impact than any event seen in half a century, including conflicts and natural disasters,” stated Austin Schumacher, an IHME researcher and principal author of the study published in The Lancet journal.

During 2020-2021, life expectancy fell in 84% of the 204 nations and territories studied, “demonstrating the devastating potential impacts” of new viruses, he said in a statement.

The researchers predicted that the death rate for adults over the age of 15 increased by 22% for males and 17% for women over this time period.

Mexico City, Peru, and Bolivia were among the places where life expectancy dropped the greatest.

However, there was some good news in the latest estimates of the IHME’s landmark Global Burden of Disease survey.

Half a million fewer children under the age of five died in 2021 than in 2019, maintaining the long-term drop in child mortality.

Hmwe Hmwe Kyu, an IHME researcher, praised this “incredible progress,” stating the world should now focus on “the next pandemic and addressing the vast disparities in health across countries”.

Despite the setback caused by the pandemic, individuals continue to live significantly longer than they did before.

Between 1950 and 2021, the average life expectancy at birth increased by 23 years, from 49 to 72, according to the study.

16 million Covid-linked deaths

The researchers projected that Covid was responsible for 15.9 million additional deaths between 2020 and 2021, either directly from the virus or indirectly due to pandemic-related disturbances.

This is a million more extra deaths than the World Health Organization had previously predicted.

Excess fatalities are computed by comparing the overall number of deaths to the number of deaths that would have occurred in the absence of a pandemic.

Barbados, New Zealand, and Antigua and Barbuda had some of the lowest excess death rates throughout the epidemic, which reflects how isolated islands were typically spared the full force of Covid.

The survey also revealed that the populations of many older, wealthy countries have begun to decline, while populations in less wealthy countries continue to expand.

This dynamic “will bring about unprecedented social, economic, and political challenges, such as labour shortages in areas where younger populations are shrinking and resource scarcity in places where population size continues to expand rapidly,” Schumacher warned.

“Nations around the world will need to cooperate on voluntary emigration,” he added.


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