For the time being, the rate of new COVID-19 mortality is still only a small portion of the fall and winter waves from the previous year. However, life expectancy has suffered the largest decline in 100 years.
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According to a recent federal assessment, estimates of American life expectancy have dropped to their lowest points since 1996. This is the second year in a row that estimates have plummeted precipitously as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.
According to preliminary estimates released by the National Center for Health Statistics of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, health officials claim that the downturn in life expectancy from 2019 to 2021—falling by 2.7 years to 76.1—is now the nation’s worst two-year decline on record since 1923.
“The declines in life expectancy since 2019 are largely driven by the pandemic,” the agency said in a news release. “COVID-19 deaths contributed to nearly three-fourths, or 74%, of the decline from 2019 to 2020, and 50% of the decline from 2020 to 2021.”
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The estimate’s second largest overall cause, “Unintentional injuries” accounted for 15.9% of the decrease. The report’s authors stated that they “were largely driven by drug overdose,”
The effects of these factors, however, differed greatly between demographic groups.
In 2021, COVID-19 was the main factor in the fall in the life expectancy of White Americans, accounting for 54.1% of the decline from 77.4 to 76.4 years in the previous year.
Black Americans’ life expectancy fell by 35% due to COVID-19, and American Indian and Alaska Natives’ life expectancy fell by 21.4%.
According to the agency, Hispanic Americans experienced the largest loss in life expectancy during the first year of the pandemic, with 90% of their decline attributed to COVID-19.
Only a “slight decline” of 0.2 years in life expectancy was seen in the Hispanic population during the second year of the outbreak. The decline in life expectancy among Hispanic Americans was primarily caused by “Unintentional injuries” which outperformed COVID-19.
Asian Americans’ declining life expectancy was not primarily attributed to COVID-19. Instead, cancer was responsible for 21.4% of their drop last year.
Asian Americans experienced the least deterioration in life expectancy last year, dropping by just 0.1 years to 83.5 years among all racial groups. Of all racial groups, American Indians and Alaska Natives experienced the most decrease, losing 1.9 years to plummet to 65.2 years.
The statistics confirm differences in COVID-19 deaths during the pandemic, which the FDA stated earlier this year changed significantly as vaccines and treatments spread throughout the nation. So, compared to 2020, certain persistent differences in life expectancy shrank last year.
There are now only 5.6 years between White and Black Americans in terms of life expectancy, down 5.1% from 2020.
Black Americans’ life expectancy in 1993 was 7.1 years lower than that of white Americans. Before the pandemic, that margin had narrowed to four years by 2019.
However, other discrepancies were wider last year.
According to the study, between men and women, the difference in life expectancy increased from 5.7 to 5.9 years in 2021. In 2010, the difference between the sexes was only 4.8 years.
The projections provide one of the earliest perspectives on how the COVID-19 pandemic’s second year affected American life expectancy.
In the upcoming months, more precise numbers and breakdowns for 2021 are expected.
For instance, when the FDA last week published (read below) final projections for 2020, each state and the District of Columbia’s life expectancy in the first year of the pandemic decreased.
The revelation comes as federal health authorities warn that this winter could bring about yet another possibly fatal wave of diseases.
CDC figures show that between 300 and 400 COVID-19 deaths have occurred on average every day since mid-April in the United States, about doubling the lowest levels recorded in June and July of 2021.
However, for the time being, the rate of new COVID-19 mortality is still only a small portion of the fall and winter waves from the previous year.
According to modelers, the soon-to-be-rolled-out COVID-19 booster doses could avert thousands of COVID-19 deaths in the upcoming months, however even the most favorable outcome could cause 111,000 additional fatalities nationwide.
“Even now, we are still at about 400 deaths a day,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said at a meeting of her advisers earlier this month. “And that — we’ve become accustomed to saying it — but I don’t feel like that can be a number that we are okay with staying at.”
“I think we really do need to continue to recognize that that is well too many deaths than we should be comfortable with,” Walensky added.
Read the document below: