clearn.png
Saturday October 16th, 2021 5:43AM

US life expectancy drops a year in pandemic, most since WWII

By The Associated Press

Life expectancy in the United States dropped a staggering one year during the first half of 2020 as the coronavirus pandemic caused its first wave of deaths, health officials are reporting.

Minorities suffered the biggest impact, with Black Americans losing nearly three years and Hispanics, nearly two years, according to preliminary estimates Thursday from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“This is a huge decline,” said Robert Anderson, who oversees the numbers for the CDC. “You have to go back to World War II, the 1940s, to find a decline like this.”

Other health experts say it shows the profound impact of COVID-19, not just on deaths directly due to infection but also from heart disease, cancer and other conditions.

“What is really quite striking in these numbers is that they only reflect the first half of the year ... I would expect that these numbers would only get worse,” said Dr. Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo, a health equity researcher and dean at the University of California, San Francisco.

This is the first time the CDC has reported on life expectancy from early, partial records; more death certificates from that period may yet come in. It’s already known that 2020 was the deadliest year in U.S. history, with deaths topping 3 million for the first time.

Life expectancy is how long a baby born today can expect to live, on average. In the first half of last year, that was 77.8 years for Americans overall, down one year from 78.8 in 2019. For males it was 75.1 years and for females, 80.5 years.

As a group, Hispanics in the U.S. have had the most longevity and still do. Black people now lag white people by six years in life expectancy, reversing a trend that had been bringing their numbers closer since 1993.

Between 2019 and the first half of 2020, life expectancy decreased 2.7 years for Black people, to 72. It dropped 1.9 years for Hispanics, to 79.9, and 0.8 years for white people, to 78. The preliminary report did not analyze trends for Asian or Native Americans.

“Black and Hispanic communities throughout the United States have borne the brunt of this pandemic,” Bibbins-Domingo said.

They’re more likely to be in frontline, low-wage jobs and living in crowded environments where it’s easier for the virus to spread, and “there are stark, pre-existing health disparities in other conditions” that raise their risk of dying of COVID-19, she said.

More needs to be done to distribute vaccines equitably, to improve working conditions and better protect minorities from infection, and to include them in economic relief measures, she said.

Dr. Otis Brawley, a cancer specialist and public health professor at Johns Hopkins University, agreed.

“The focus really needs to be broad spread of getting every American adequate care. And health care needs to be defined as prevention as well as treatment,” he said.

Overall, the drop in life expectancy is more evidence of “our mishandling of the pandemic,” Brawley said.

“We have been devastated by the coronavirus more so than any other country. We are 4% of the world’s population, more than 20% of the world’s coronavirus deaths,” he said.

Not enough use of masks, early reliance on drugs such as hydroxychloroquine, “which turned out to be worthless,” and other missteps meant many Americans died needlessly, Brawley said.

“Going forward, we need to practice the very basics” such as hand-washing, physical distancing and vaccinating as soon as possible to get prevention back on track, he said.

___

Marilynn Marchione can be followed on Twitter: @MMarchioneAP

___

The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

  • Associated Categories: U.S. News, Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top U.S. News short headlines, Top General short headlines, AP Health, AP Online - Georgia News, AP Online Headlines - Georgia News
© Copyright 2021 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
US needs to brace itself for more deadly storms, experts say
The deadly winter storms that knocked out power for millions in Texas and other states have exceeded the worst-case scenarios of many U.S. utilities
12:12AM ( 17 minutes ago )
Asian shares mostly lower after mixed day on Wall Street
Shares are mostly lower in Asia after a mixed session on Wall Street as losses by technology and industrial companies offset other gains
12:08AM ( 21 minutes ago )
Migrants on the move again in Mexico and Central America
The first Mexican shelter reached by migrants after trekking through the Guatemalan jungle has hosted nearly 1,500 migrants only six weeks into the year compared to 3,000 all of last year, even though it has halved its dormitory capacity due to the pandemic
12:01AM ( 28 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Power outages linger for millions as another icy storm looms
Millions of Americans endured another frigid day without electricity or heat in the aftermath of a deadly winter storm
11:44PM ( 45 minutes ago )
Trump-McConnell feud threatens Republicans' path to power
Not even a month after leaving office, former President Donald Trump is escalating a political war within his own party that could undermine the GOP’s ability to fight President Joe Biden’s agenda and ultimately return to power
9:00PM ( 3 hours ago )
Muddled promises on schools pose political problem for Biden
President Joe Biden is in a political firestorm over how and when to get more schools open amid the coronavirus pandemic
8:52PM ( 3 hours ago )
AP National News
Players return to COVID protocols as spring training opens
Pitchers and catchers around baseball reported to spring training Wednesday appreciating what’s at stake as they try to follow COVID-19 protocols make sure the season runs with minimal interruptions
6:57PM ( 5 hours ago )
Crippling weather hampers vaccine deliveries, distribution
Just as vaccine efforts ramp up and gain speed, the icy blast across much of the United States has injected more confusion and frustration into the nation’s COVID-19 vaccination drive
6:39PM ( 5 hours ago )
UN chief urges global plan to reverse unfair vaccine access
U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is sharply criticizing the “wildly uneven and unfair” distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, saying 10 countries have administered 75 percent of vaccinations and demanding a global effort to get all people in every nation vaccinated as soon as possible
6:25PM ( 6 hours ago )
Top General short headlines
US needs to brace itself for more deadly storms, experts say
The deadly winter storms that knocked out power for millions in Texas and other states have exceeded the worst-case scenarios of many U.S. utilities
12:12AM ( 17 minutes ago )
Asian shares mostly lower after mixed day on Wall Street
Shares are mostly lower in Asia after a mixed session on Wall Street as losses by technology and industrial companies offset other gains
12:08AM ( 21 minutes ago )
Migrants on the move again in Mexico and Central America
The first Mexican shelter reached by migrants after trekking through the Guatemalan jungle has hosted nearly 1,500 migrants only six weeks into the year compared to 3,000 all of last year, even though it has halved its dormitory capacity due to the pandemic
12:01AM ( 28 minutes ago )
Serena stopped: Osaka beats Williams in Australian Open SF
Naomi Osaka has stopped Serena Williams’ latest bid for a record-tying 24th Grand Slam singles title in the Australian Open semifinals
11:47PM ( 43 minutes ago )
Power outages linger for millions as another icy storm looms
Millions of Americans endured another frigid day without electricity or heat in the aftermath of a deadly winter storm
11:44PM ( 45 minutes ago )