U.S. life expectancy falls by a year as Covid causes biggest drop since WWII
“This is a huge decline,” said Robert Anderson, who oversees the data for the CDC. “You have to go back to World War II, the 1940s, to find a decline like this.”
Provisional life expectancy in the first half of 2020 was at its lowest level since 2006, the CDC data found.
In the first half of the year, the expected life span for Americans overall was 77.8 years, down one year from 78.8 in 2019. For males the average life expectancy was 75.1 years, and for females, who tend to have higher life expectancies, it was 80.5 years, a slight drop from the previous year.
“Black and Hispanic communities throughout the United States have borne the brunt of this pandemic,” said Dr. Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo, a health equity researcher and dean at the University of California, San Francisco.
Dr. Otis Brawley, a cancer specialist and public health professor at Johns Hopkins University, said the drop in life expectancy is more evidence of “our mishandling of the pandemic.”
“We have been devastated by the coronavirus more so than any other country. We are 4 percent of the world’s population, more than 20 percent of the world’s coronavirus deaths,” he added.
Adela Suliman is a London-based reporter for NBC News Digital.