The pandemic dropped the average American lifespan- but will it leave a lasting impact?

Family Healthcast

FAMILY HEALTHCAST — The coronavirus pandemic has taken the lives of 600,000 Americans, and new information says it was largely responsible for shaving a year and a half from the life expectancy of Americans in 2020, the steepest drop in the United States since World War II.

That’s according to federal statistics that came out Wednesday, which show that if an American child born today hypothetically lived their entire life under the conditions of 2020, would be expected to live 77.3 years, down from 78.8 in 2019. This is the lowest life expectancy since 2003.

The difficult year also deepened racial and ethnic disparities in life expectancy, with Black and Hispanic Americans losing nearly two more years than white Americans. Life expectancy for Hispanic Americans dropped to 78.8 from 81.8, while the numbers for Black Americans dropped to 71.8 from 74.7.

While the decline was caused mostly by COVID-19, there were also smaller rises in unintentional injuries, chronic liver disease and cirrhosis, homicide and diabetes.

The precipitous drop in 2020 caused largely by COVID-19 is not likely to be permanent. In 1918, the flu pandemic wiped 11.8 years from Americans’ life expectancy, but the number fully rebounded the following year.

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