Corona lowers global life expectancy

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From 1950 to 2019, human life expectancy has steadily increased each year. But the corona pandemic is putting an end to that. On average, humanity loses two years of life to the coronavirus. In some countries, the figure is much higher.

For the first time since 1950, the Corona pandemic has caused a decline in the global life expectancy of humanity. According to calculations by Patrick Heuveline of the California Center for Population Research in Los Angeles, that’s published in the journal Population and Development Review.

According to the report, life expectancy fell by 0.92 years in 2020 and by 0.72 years in 2021, rising again slightly from Q4 2021. WHO gave the official figure of 5.4 million deaths at the end of 2021. It has since been increased to 6.13 million. However, experts worldwide agree that this by no means includes all people who have died in connection with the coronavirus.

Heuveline arrives at least 15 million global deaths from the coronavirus in his calculations. The figure is based on mortality figures published regularly by the Human Mortality Database in more than 100 countries. Existing estimates suggested “that excess death could be two to four times the number of deaths officially attributed to Covid-19,” Heuveline wrote. “The majority of these excess deaths likely occurred outside Europe and the other high-income nations where the pandemic’s impact on mortality has been extensively documented.” The researcher also tried to account for inaccuracies from individual countries in his calculations.

Individual countries were affected to varying degrees. In eight countries, life expectancy fell by more than four years. Among them were five countries on the American continent: Peru lost 5.6 years, Guatemala 4.8 years, Paraguay 4.7 years, Bolivia 4.1 years, and Mexico 4.0 years. In Europe, Russia lost 4.3 years and Bulgaria and northern Macedonia 4.1 years each.

Countries in East Asia, Australia, New Zealand, and Western Europe had minor declines of less than two years, with a dividing line between the Baltics and the Balkans. In the U.S., the loss was more than two years.

The decline in the last two years means that the life expectancy of the global population has fallen back below the 2013 level. From 1950 to 2019, global life expectancy had increased by an average of 0.39 years each year, from 45.7 years to 72.6 years. From 1950 to 2019, mortality declines were rare and localized. They were more than offset by mortality increases elsewhere, the study showed. The most significant increase in life expectancy, 0.7 years, occurred between 1964 and 1968, which Heuveline attributes to worldwide childhood immunization campaigns.

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