This isn’t a surprise, but it’s still tough to grasp. In just the first six months of 2020, life expectancy in the United dropped dramatically. One CDC expert says we haven’t seen a “huge decline” like this since World War II. NPR writes:
Life expectancy at birth for the total U.S. population was 77.8 years – a decline of 1 year from 78.8 in 2019. For males, the life expectancy at birth was 75.1 – a decline of 1.2 years from 2019. For females, life expectancy declined to 80.5 years, a 0.9 year decrease from 2019.
It’s even more staggering when you look at the breakdown by race.
The Associated Press writes that “health experts say it shows the profound impact of COVID-19, not just on deaths directly due to infection but also from heart disease, cancer and other conditions.”
Since these numbers only reflect the first half of 2020, experts warn once we see numbers from the rest of the year we could expect to see an even bigger drop. The AP adds:
This is the first time the CDC has reported on life expectancy from early, partial records; more death certificates from that period may yet come in. It’s already known that 2020 was the deadliest year in U.S. history, with deaths topping 3 million for the first time.