The COVID-19 pandemic may have caused the life expectancy of Americans to drop by a full year in 2020. This drop in life expectancy has been even more severe of communities of color. According to the CDC, the life expectancy for Hispanic Americans has dropped by two years and the life expectancy of Black Americans has dropped by three years. In comparison to white Americans, Black Americans are now expected to live six years less.
“This is a huge decline,” Robert Anderson of the CDC said.
“You have to go back to World War II, the 1940s, to find a decline like this.”
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, last year was the deadliest on record within the United States. Making things even scarier, the drop in life expectancy is only caused by numbers from the first half of 2020. Life expectancy may drop even further when numbers from the second half of the year are included.
“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,” Dr. Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo of the University of California, San Francisco.
In order to reverse this trend, public health officials are pushing for wider COVID-19 vaccine distribution, adequate health resources for marginalized communities and improved working conditions.
“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,” Dr. Otis Brawley at John Hopkins University said.
“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."
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