Life expectancy in the US declining
A significant decline in life expectancy was observed from 2019 till 2021.
Life expectancy in the United States is in a decline.
While it fell nearly 1.9 years in 2020, in 2021, it fell another 0.4 years.
The data was published on Thursday on a preprint server, medRxiv, entailing that the data has not been peer-reviewed yet. But, the results are suggestive.
The decline from 2020 is the largest since World War II, according to the report.
In the decade before the pandemic, life expectancy in the US would experience change, on average, of less than 0.1 per year, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Life expectancy data during the COVID-19 pandemic increased an already-existing discrepancy in expectancy between the US and other first-world countries, according to the new report. In the US, in 2019, life expectancy fell from 78.9 towards to 76.6 in 2021 - over 5 years less than the average compared to other nations.
"This speaks volumes about the life consequences of how the US handled the pandemic," said Dr. Steven Woolf, author of the study and director emeritus of the Center on Society and Health at Virginia Commonwealth University in a written statement.
"What happened in the U.S. is less about the variants than the levels of resistance to vaccination and the public's rejection of practices, such as masking and mandates, to reduce viral transmission."
The wedge in life expectancy in the US runs far deeper when race and socioeconomic statuses are taken into account.
There was a disproportionate decrease in life expectancy among Black and Hispanic communities in 2020. However, 2021 saw White communities sustaining the largest losses, while Hispanics had a steady life expectancy and Black communities' life expectancy rose slightly.