Covid pandemic caused biggest reduction in life expectancy since second World War
In a study done on the developed nations published by Oxford University, American men are hardest hit by the pandemic.Author : A. Gayatri
The Coronavirus pandemic has triggered the largest dip in life expectancy since World War II in most developed countries, with American men suffering from great serious losses.
In a study published by Oxford University, life expectancy for American men has dropped by more than two years.
The study examined 29 nations stretching from Europe, the US and Chile, found 22 nations with life expectancy lower than six months what it was in 2019. While in 27 countries, life expectancy in 2020 declined to a scale that wiped out years of growth in mortality.
The research led by scientists from Oxford stated that men undergo larger expectancy declines than women across countries, mostly observed among males in the United States. Men in the US have experienced a decline of 2.2 years relative to the levels in 2019, followed by Lithuanian males, who h saw a fall by 1.7 years.
The study, co-lead author, José Manuel Aburto stated: “For western European countries such as Spain, England and Wales, Italy, Belgium, among others, the last time such large magnitudes of declines in life expectancy at birth were observed in a single year was during world war two.”
Women in eight nations and men in 11 countries underwent declines in life expectancy larger than a year, whereas in 22 countries loss of life expectancy was more than half a year.
“To contextualise, it took on average 5.6 years for these countries to achieve a one-year increase in life expectancy recently: progress wiped out throughout 2020 by Covid-19,” said Dr Aburto.
In 2020, the US experienced a plunge in life expectancy for both females and males, as per the data that dates back to 1933 during the Great Depression.
Female life expectancy in America dropped down by 1.65 years in 2020 in comparison to the past year.
This massive dip in life expectancy amongst Americans can be somewhat explained by a notable rise in mortality with the working-class group.
The study suggests maximum life expectancy losses in 2020 over nations can be linked to deaths from Coronavirus. Globally, nearly 50 lakh fatalities have been reported since the onset of the pandemic.
"The fact that our results highlight such a large impact that is directly attributable to Covid-19 shows how devastating a shock it has been for many countries," said Dr Ridhi Kashyap, who has co-led the research.
“In the US, increases in mortality in the under-60 age group contributed most significantly to life expectancy declines, whereas across most of Europe increases in mortality above age 60 contributed more significantly,” added Ridhi Kashyap.
The higher rates of severe illness in men, the health experts associate with biological differences and behavioural factors, to a point in a brief span, compared to women.
“While women and men tend to get Covid-19 at fairly similar rates, men seem to get more seriously ill in the short term — though, interestingly, women report higher rates of ‘long Covid’,” said David Dowdy, associate professor of epidemiology at Johns Hopkins University school of medicine.
“Compared with women, men often behave in ways that work to the virus’s advantage. Not only do we get in each other’s faces a bit more but we’re also slower to seek help when we get sick.”
The research was headed by a group of scientists at the Leverhulme Centre for Demographic Science at the University of Oxford and issued in the International Journal of Epidemiology on Monday. The study describes the average age to which an infant would live if current mortality rates proceeded for what seems like forever.
Meanwhile, Dr Ridhi Kashyap has said more data is required to back this study and urged countries - including the low and middle-income nations to make mortality data available for supporting further studies.
“We urgently call for the publication and availability of more disaggregated data to better understand the impacts of the pandemic globally,” she said.