An investigation carried out by the Center for Demographic Research at the University of California (UCLA) estimated that on average, globally, there was a considerable reduction in life expectancy due to Covid, something not seen since 1950
There is no doubt that the impact of the Covid pandemic has been much greater than what health authorities worldwide would have predicted.
In just over 2 years, around 494 million infections and 6.1 million deaths from the coronavirus have been recorded across the planet.
Life expectancy decreases worldwide due to Covid
Personnel from the Center for Demographic Research at the University of California (UCLA) carried out a study to find out exactly how Covid would have modified life expectancy rates and said research concluded that, indeed, the virus reduced it globally by about 2 years.
This study, published in the Population and Development Review magazine, also emphasizes that it is the first decrease recorded in the life expectancy index at a global level since the UN began estimating said indicator in the 1950s.
According to the report, global life expectancy decreased by 0.92 years between 2019 and 2020, and by 0.72 years between 2020 and 2021. “Since 1950, annual declines of that magnitude have only been observed on rare occasions in some countries, such as Cambodia in the 1970s, Rwanda in the 1990s, and possibly some sub-Saharan African nations at the height of the AIDS pandemic,” said Patrick Heuveline, professor of sociology and associate director of the California Population Research Center at UCLA. .
Let us remember that life expectancy is a highly relevant indicator, since it is taken as a marker of human progress, for example, in aggregate indices such as the UN Human Development Index.
The United Nations Organization estimated that between 1950 and 2019, global life expectancy increased steadily, with an average increase of 0.39 years per year. From 45.7 years of life expectancy at birth in 1950 to 72.6 years in 2019.
It was precisely during the Covid pandemic that a decrease in this index was recorded for the first time for a little over 2 years in at least 50 countries.
The pandemic caused marked declines, of 0.92 years between 2019 and 2020 and an additional 0.72 years between 2020 and 2021. Estimates indicate that global life expectancy in 2021 fell below that of 2013.
Heuveline and his team analyzed global and national estimates of changes in life expectancy using data on excess deaths compared to deaths attributed solely to Covid-19. Although Heuveline primarily referred to the Global Mortality Data Set, he modified its approach to determining the number of excess deaths by country based on data availability and quality.
“While existing estimates are imperfect, they suggest that the number of excess deaths could be two to four times the number of deaths officially attributed to Covid-19” he added.
Furthermore, this study estimated that the impact of the coronavirus pandemic may have been greater in Asian and African countries, specifically Egypt, India, Kazakhstan, Lebanon, South Africa, Tunisia, and the Philippines, than in European countries such as Italy, Spain, and the United Kingdom. .
Life expectancy in the United States was also modified by Covid
The study also analyzed by country to find out in which nations life expectancy had dropped considerably.
The United States is one of those that experienced a greater decline, with a little more than 2 years less than said index.
Other countries that experienced resounding falls are Peru (7.91 years); meanwhile, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Mexico, Nicaragua, and Paraguay experienced declines of around 4 to 6 years.
Bosnia and Herzegovina and North Macedonia experienced an annual decline of just over 4 years compared to over 3 years for Albania, Bulgaria, Montenegro and Poland. Egypt lost 2.3 years of life expectancy, India 2.6 years, Kazakhstan 3.2 years, Lebanon 3.4 years, the Philippines 3 years, and South Africa 3.1 years.
Countries that did not achieve a 2-year decline in life expectancy included those in East Asia, Australia, New Zealand, and most of Western Europe.