Life expectancy decreased last year in the U.S. in the largest one-year drop since World War II, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The drop by 1.5 years in 2020 has been largely attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic, which further widened the longevity gap reported in June between the U.S. and comparable countries. The drop also spotlights the country’s system of poor health, experts said in an NBC News report.
Deaths from Covid-19 and drug overdoses which also fueled the decline, wiped out any improvements the country made in decreasing deaths from cancer and chronic lower respiratory diseases, bringing the life expectancy at birth down to 77.3 years.
The decline in life expectancy, which was particularly noted in huge amounts during the pandemic, prompted healthcare officials to acknowledge that, “What happened in the U.S. did not occur in other comparable countries despite Covid-19 being a global pandemic,” Steven Woolf, director emeritus of the Center on Society and Health at Virginia Commonwealth University, said in a statement.
While the disease was responsible for 90 percent of the drop in life expectancy among Hispanic Americans, compared to 68 percent in white Americans and almost 60 percent in Black Americans, deaths from the pandemic cause almost 75 % of the reduction in life expectancy on average, NBC reported.
Meanwhile, life expectancy among Hispanic Americans compared to White Americans more than halved — from 3 years in 2019 to 1.2 years in 2020, bringing Hispanic Americans’ current life expectancy to 78.8 years. That advantage compared to life expectancy for Black Americans, which has declined since 2000 by almost 3 years to 71.8 years.

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