The life expectancy of people in the U.S. has decreased, as recent figures show. The COVID-19 pandemic has hit hard the lives of Americans in terms of their businesses, their financial stability, the routines they used to lead, and long etcetera in most other aspects. However, federal reports show that COVID-19 and its aftermath have affected people’s lives.
The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) has published troubling figures revealing that the life expectancy of Americans has been reduced by one year during the first half of 2020, according to federal government figures. “Life expectancy is how long a baby born today can expect to live, on average, if mortality rates remain the same,” the article adds.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics said that, as of the end of June of last year, life expectancy at birth was 77.8. “The one-year drop from the previous year was the largest drop since World War II when life expectancy fell 2.9 years between 1942 and 1943. This drop, put life expectancy at its lowest level in the U.S. since 2006,” the WSJ reported.
Consequences of lockdown
A study by Revolver News reveals that lockdowns due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) are ten times more lethal than the pandemic itself in terms of years of life lost by American citizens.
The study says that approximately 18.7 million people lost years of life (in the U.S. alone) due to the confinements. In comparison, the numbers of years of life saved are minuscule, proving empirically that confinement has been abysmally counterproductive, saving only a quarter to three-quarters of a million years of life.
“Job loss and permanent job separations have been shown to correlate directly with increases in heart disease, drug overdoses, lung cancer, and liver disease, among other increased risk factors for mortality,” the study reads.
The recent federal figures, and those that Revolver News deduced from its study, make it clear that it is not a conspiracy theory, nor an exaggeration, to say that the pandemic and the policies implemented by American governors have caused some of the greatest damage in its contemporary history.
How has the pandemic affected Latino life expectancy?
The Wall Street Journal report reveals that minorities are being hit hardest by COVID-19. Life expectancy for African Americans dropped 2.7 years during the first half of 2020, and for Hispanics, it fell 1.9 years.
Elizabeth Arias, a scientist who co-authored the federal report, told the WSJ that “it is very troubling when we see mortality increasing to such a degree.” She adds that these figures clearly illustrate the magnitude of the pandemic’s effects and that the declines in these minority groups were greater than expected.
Indeed, Hispanics live longer than both groups, with a life expectancy of 1.9 years longer than whites. Arias said the declines for these minority groups were greater than he expected.
“The disproportionate effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on life expectancy for African Americans and Latinos likely has to do with their greater exposure through their workplace or extended family contacts, in addition to receiving poorer medical care, leading to more infections and worse outcomes,” said author Theresa Andrasfay, a postdoctoral fellow at the Leonard Davis School of Gerontology at the University of South Carolina, who also conducted a study with results similar to the federal figures.
Another notable effect is that the gap between male and female longevity widened in 2020. Women’s life expectancy was 80.5 years in June, 5.4 years longer than men’s. That gap, according to the recent study, has been narrowing over the past decade.
Black and Hispanic men experienced notably larger declines in life expectancy than their female counterparts early last year.
The Journal also reported that Professor Gbenga Ogedegbe and colleagues found that black and Hispanic people were more likely to test positive for the virus than white people and were about equally likely to be hospitalized.
For several experts – such as Robert Anderson of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – the life expectancy of Hispanics is similar to that of World War II; that is, the pandemic has had as catastrophic an effect on the life expectancy of Americans as one of the bloodiest wars in world history.
The effects, however, are reportedly not being examined by the Biden administration, who despite the dire numbers are considering supporting further lockdowns in the future.
Rafael Valera, Venezuelan, student of Political Science, political exile in São Paulo, Brazil since 2017 // Rafael Valera, venezolano, es estudiante de Ciencias Políticas y exiliado político en São Paulo, Brasil desde 2017