Life expectancy falls in 27 of 29 nations amid COVID-19


Life expectancy dipped during the COVID-19 pandemic, the magnitude of which had not been seen in a single year since World War II in Western Europe and the dissolution of the Soviet Union in Eastern Europe, according to a study of 29 countries.

The results, published yesterday in the International Journal of Epidemiology, showed that COVID-19 offset most life expectancy gains in the 5 years leading up to the pandemic in many countries. Declines were most precipitous in the United States, where males lost 2.2 years in 2020 relative to 2019 and where COVID-19 contributed significantly to high death rates in the under-60 age-group.

More than 5 years of progress ‘wiped out’

A team led by University of Oxford researchers used public health data to construct life tables by sex from 2015 to 2020 for 29 countries, which spanned most of Europe, Chile, and the United States. They compared life expectancy at birth and at age 60 for 2020 with trends over 2015 to 2019.


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