US life expectancy drops 18 months due to COVID-19
The US life expectancy dropped by 18 months due to COVID-19, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) National Center for Health Statistics.
Life expectancy was 78.8 years in 2019, and was 77.3 years in 2020, the largest drop since World War II. COVID-19 contributed 74% to the decline in life expectancy.
As with all aspects of the pandemic in the United States, there were sharp racial and ethnic divides in the data. For Black Americans, life expectancy dropped 2.9 years from 74.7 years in 2019 to 71.8 in 2020. And Hispanic Americans had the biggest drop—3 years, with Hispanic males seeing a drop of 3.7 years.
“Among the causes contributing negatively to the change in life expectancy, COVID-19 contributed 90% for the Hispanic population, 67.9% for the non-Hispanic white population, and 59.3% for the non-Hispanic black population,” the CDC said.
Political divide over vaccines grows in US
In the United States, vaccine access is abundant, but sharp political divides have led to uneven vaccine coverage. Now, more than 90% of recorded COVID-19 deaths are in unvaccinated Americans, many of whom tend to live in rural, Republican communities that have been a haven to vaccine conspiracies.