The Covid-19 pandemic caused life expectancy to fall by more than six months in 22 countries last year compared to 2019, the biggest drop since World War II, according to a study published on Monday by Oxford University.
In 27 of the 29 countries analysed in the study, which spanned Europe, the United States and Chile, there were reductions in life expectancy overall, with the life expectancy of American men dropping by more than two years.
The university said most life expectancy reductions across different countries could be linked to official Covid-19 deaths.
There have been nearly five million reported deaths caused by the coronavirus so far, a Reuters tally shows.
“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, co-lead author of the paper, published in the International Journal of Epidemiology.
There were greater drops in life expectancy for men than women in most countries, with the largest decline in American men, who saw life expectancy drop by 2.2 years relative to 2019.
Overall, men had more than a year shaved off in 15 countries, compared with women in 11 countries. That wiped out the progress on mortality that had been made in the previous 5.6 years.
In the US, the rise in mortality was mainly among those of working age and those under 60, while in Europe, deaths among people aged over 60 contributed more significantly to the increase in mortality.
Dr. Kashyap appealed to more countries, including low- and middle-income nations, to make mortality data available for 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. (Source: The Straits Times)