Life expectancy in the United States fell a year and a half in 2020, to 77.3 years, the lowest average since 2003, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC). The main reason was deaths from Covid-19. This is the largest drop in a year since World War II, when the index fell 2.9 years between 1942 and 1943.
“Life expectancy has been increasing gradually every year for the past few decades. The drop between 2019 and 2020 has been so big that it has brought us back to the level of 2003. It is as if we have lost a decade,” said Elizabeth Arias, researcher. at CDC, on Reuters.
About 3.6 million people died in the United States in 2020, of which around 375,000 were from Covid. The disease was the third leading cause of death, after heart problems and cancer.
The deaths generated by the Covid represented 74% of the drop in American expectations. In addition, drug overdoses have also made a significant contribution: deaths from this cause increased by almost 30% in 2020 and killed 93,000 people. On the other hand, the reduction in cancer deaths has made it possible to lengthen life expectancy and to attenuate the fall in the rate caused by other factors.
The suicide rate fell 4.6% in the country last year, despite some predictions that social isolation could make the problem worse.
Disparities between social groups have also increased. Black life expectancy fell 2.9 years during the period and fell to 71.8 years, the lowest level since 2000. And for Latino men, it fell 3.7 years. , at 75.3 years of life.
Women, on the other hand, have a longer life expectancy of 80.2 years, almost six more than men.
Experts believe the loss of life expectancy is unlikely to recover in 2021 and could decline further if new variants of the coronavirus progress. The more contagious delta mutation already accounts for 80% of cases in the United States.
However, current vaccines remain over 90% effective even against the delta variant, Anthony Fauci, America’s leading infectious disease specialist, said in a Senate hearing on Tuesday (20).
Covid deaths in the United States totaled around 240 per day. The number is double that of last week, but still a far cry from the worst times of the disease in the country, when that rate exceeded 3,000 daily deaths.
Life expectancy estimates how many years babies are expected to live on average. Thus, current newborns are expected to live to an average of 77.3 years. The CDC does calculations for almost all age groups: Americans who are currently 75, for example, have to live another 12 years. And those who are 85 are expected to live another 6.7 years.
In Brazil, life expectancy at birth was 76.6 years in 2019, according to IBGE, which does the official calculation of the index in the country. The institute has yet to release figures for 2020. A study conducted by the team of demographer Márcia Castro, a professor at Harvard, pointed out that life expectancy in Brazil has fallen by 1.94 years in the year last and fell to 74.8 years of life.