As COVID-19 claimed lives of over 27 million Americans,
it had a huge impact on their life expectancy, cutting it short by one year, during
the first half of 2020. This number stands testimony to the effect of COVID-19
pandemic as well as the surge in deaths due to other reasons such as drug
overdose, heart attacks and other diseases. This has taken the US back to the
times of World War II, the only time when life expectancy dropped to this
While racial disparity is a man-made concept, the pandemic
has taken influence from it, cutting life expectancy of Black Americans by 2.7
years, of Latino population by 1.9 years and white population by 0.8 years.
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Americans can now expect to live as long as they did in
2006, according to the provisional data released by the National Center for
Health Statistics (NCHS), a part of the Centers for Disease Control and
NCHS data reported that life expectancy at birth for the
entire US population in the first half of 2020 was 77.8 years. For Black
Americans, it was 72, for Latinos 79.9, and for Whites 78. As has long been the
case, women could expect to live longer — 80.5 years, compared with 75.1 for
men. The NCHS did not include figures for Asian Americans or other racial
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The decline in life expectancy in Black and Latino
population could be credited to poorer access of health care and comorbidities
such as high blood pressure and diabetes.
Life expectancy at birth is a trustworthy measure of a
The US has witnessed a a consistent rise in life expectancy
since the middle of the 20th century, with minor shortfalls credited
to drug overdose, alcoholism and suicide. From 2015-2107, the sudden drop in
life expectancy raised concerns among public health experts after striving to
fight against heart disease, cancer and other ailments.
In 2019, life expectancy had seen a rise as deaths
due to drug overdose declined for the first time in 28 years.
In 2020, COVID-19 pandemic brought with it a storm, blowing
away numbers as life expectancy saw another drop. Experts suggest that the
numbers will rise once the US quells the pandemic.