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Life expectancy in the U.S. in 2020 registered its biggest annual decline in generations

Life expectancy in the US will drop by 1.5 years in 2020, the biggest drop since at least World War II, when the COVID-19 pandemic killed hundreds of thousands of people and exacerbated crises. live drug overdose, murders and some chronic diseases.

Update on the corona virus situation: According to WHO, the Delta variant of COVID is now available in 124 countries and will likely be the dominant strain globally within the next few months.

Interim data released Wednesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows American life expectancy reduce to 77.3 years old by 2020, close to 2003 levels. erase years of hard-won success for the public health of the nation. This was the largest one-year decline on record since 1943. It’s not entirely clear what caused the drop that year, when the United States was entering World War II.

“I’ve never personally seen such a large shift except in history books,” said Elizabeth Arias, a demographer at the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics and lead author of the report. history.

See: The recession caused by the pandemic ended more than a year ago – but the US economy is not out of the woods yet

Arias and other population health experts say life expectancy won’t recover to pre-pandemic levels by 2021. and can refuse again if a new variant of Covid-19 emerges that the vaccine does not protect against, some say. The highly transmissible Delta variant of the virus has pushed cases, hospitalizations and deaths again in recent times, especially in parts of the country. where vaccination rates are low.

Doctors and public health officials say full numbers on the pandemic are not yet available. Many people skipped or delayed treatment last year because of conditions like diabetes or high blood pressure, and endured isolation, stress and disruptions to their normal diet and exercise routine.

An expanded version of this report is available at WSJ.com.

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