aAverage life expectancy for Americans continued to slip in 2021. According to temporary data From the National Center for Health Statistics August 31, life expectancy fell by 0.9 years in 2021, resulting in an overall decline of about 2.7 years between 2019 and 2021 — the largest two-year decline in a century.
Once again, COVID-19 was the leading cause of death for younger Americans, accounting for 50% of the decline. However, other causes of death have also gone up – including drug overdoses, heart disease and liver disease – indicating the devastating effects the pandemic has had on society.
The life expectancy of a person born in 2021 was 76.1 years, down from 77 years in 2020. The decline was greater for men than for women; Life expectancy for males was 73.2 years, down a full year from 2020, and 79.1 for females, a loss of 0.8 years.
The reduction in life expectancy was not inevitable, especially after a high efficacy COVID-19 Vaccine It’s becoming available, says Andrew Stokes, assistant professor in the department of global health at Boston University’s School of Public Health. In fact, many rich countries – including a lot of Western Europe– It recovered in 2021 after experiencing declines in life expectancy in 2020 – while some countries, such as Australia, saw no decreases at all. “The United States is an anomaly,” says Stokes. “In a high-performing public health and healthcare system, one would expect a rebound due to widespread availability of vaccines.”
Without the COVID-19 vaccines, life expectancy could have fallen even further. About 1.1 million additional people in the United States likely died from COVID-19 between December 12, 2020 and November 21, 2021, according to the Commonwealth Fund. Estimation. The virus has also indirectly increased risk factors for other conditions, including by disrupting the health care system and people’s lives.
In particular, researchers have warned that the pandemic puts people at greater risk of death from cardiovascular disease. The COVID-19 virus has strained the US healthcare system, leading to widespread staff shortages, while patients have delayed routine doctors’ visits and trips to the hospital. More directly, SARS-CoV-2 infection can heart hurts, It is believed to have increased the risk of patients dying.
Substances such as alcohol and drugs It also posed a major health threat during the pandemic. Deaths from drug overdose have increased sharply, rising by 15% to an estimated 107,622 deaths from 2020 to 2021, especially among Blacks, American Indians, and Alaska Natives. The increasing prevalence of illicit fentanyl, a highly potent synthetic opioid that has been implicated in approximately 66% of overdose deaths, is thought to be a major contributory factor. Researchers believe the pandemic has made drug use more dangerous by increasing isolation and worsening mental health, as well as disrupting patients’ access to treatment and healthcare programs. Among American Indians and Alaska Natives, chronic liver disease and cirrhosis — both of which can result from alcohol abuse — contributed to the 18.6% decrease in life expectancy.
Black people, Hispanics, and Native Americans experienced the largest overall decline in life expectancy from 2019 to 2021. The worst decline during both years was among American Indians and Alaska Natives: 1.9 years from 2020 to 2021, resulting in an overall decline of 6.6 years since 2019.
However, in 2021, whites also saw a significant reduction in life expectancy: one year. This is compared to blacks (0.7 per year) and Hispanics (0.1 per year). Stokes stresses that this is not because conditions have improved for the black and Latino communities. Rather, it was because more eggs died. COVID-19 has caused a 54.1% reduction in the life expectancy of eggs. For the most part, Stokes says, this is because the Delta Wave killed the young and affected more rural areas — places with weaker health care systems, low vaccination rates, and an increased number of white people, even though the median age at death Shift-old-whites during the Omicron wave.
“I think it is fair to say that at least part of [U.S.’s] Poor performance due to poor healthcare response and lack of absorption Vaccines,” says Stokes. “Things could have been different if we had had a more rigorous public health response.”
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