Covid-19 and Life Expectancy Rates
A study of 29 countries shows the impact of the pandemic.
Via Nature: Life expectancy changes since COVID-19. The study looks at 29 high-income countries (most of Europe, the US, and Chile). This is just additional evidence of the impact of the pandemic. The US’s comparative showing is noteworthy, as it is a further indictment of the policy approaches seen at the time.
The COVID-19 pandemic led to global increases in mortality and declines in period LE [life expectancy] that are without precedent over the past 70 years. The scale of these losses was clear by the end of 2020. By the end of 2021, it was clear that the pandemic had induced a protracted mortality shock in the United States and many European countries, measured as either compounded LE losses or persistent LE below pre-pandemic levels. Even the best-performing countries were lagging behind their LE projections for 2021 given a continuation of pre-pandemic trends.
If the numbers look like this for wealthy countries, one suspects they are much worse for middle-income and poor countries. It will likely take years of research to fully see the impact.
The piece notes that US deaths were likely also linked to existing trends, neither of which is encouraging (i.e., overdoses and deaths from gun violence):
In the United States, the pandemic has accentuated the pre-existing mid-life mortality crisis. This is clear from the strong contribution of increasing mortality below age 60 to LE losses in 2020 and 2021. Because non-COVID mortality also increased in these ages, this may be interpreted as the continuation and worsening of a pre-existing mortality crisis among working-age adults31. In 2020, the largest share of non-COVID excess deaths in US males was from external causes (primarily due to drug overdoses and homicides), nearly 80% of which occurred at working ages32. Preliminary data show continued increases in deaths due to drug overdoses in 202133. However, part of the effect may be due to the under-registration of COVID-19 deaths among the working-age population. Differences in vaccine uptake by age may also have contributed to the shift to younger mortality in the United States. By 1 July, when vaccines were already available in the United States, only 66.9% of 50- to 64-year-olds were fully vaccinated compared with 82.3% of 65- to 74-year-olds (as per the COVID Data Tracker of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). This means that older age groups were better protected during the large Delta wave in the United States in the summer/autumn of 2021 than during previous waves. Pre-pandemic differences in underlying conditions such as obesity and diabetes may also have contributed to an increased mortality burden in working-age US adults compared with their European counterparts34. Regarding global comparisons, the evidence for co-morbidity prevalence as an important predictor of cross-country COVID-19 mortality differences is still weak35.