The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that COVID-19 had cut the American life span by 1.5 years to 77.3 years. It was the largest drop since World War II. The figure makes some sense. More people have died of COVID-19 in the United States than in any other country. U.S. fatal cases have reached 700,819. That is about 15% of the world’s total and one in 500 Americans. Yet, how does this compare to the rest of the world?
Researchers from the University of Oxford recently published a report in the International Journal of Epidemiology titled “Quantifying impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic through life-expectancy losses: a population-level study of 29 countries.”
The results showed that life expectancy dropped in 27 of the 29 countries. Only Norway and Denmark did not post declines. The country where life expectancy fell the most among men was the United States, where the reduction was 2.2 years.
As an indication of the devastation, Dr. Ridhi Kashyap, one of the paper’s co-authors wrote: “The fact that our results highlight such a large impact that is directly attributable to COVID-19 shows how devastating a shock it has been for many countries.”
The figures are particularly troubling given the huge federal government push for vaccination. It was believed early in the year that a fourth wave of the disease in the United States, which is currently underway, was unlikely. Vaccination rates grew rapidly for weeks after the vaccines were available to a large number of American adults. The rise nearly leveled off as millions of Americans refused to be vaccinated. A new version of the virus, called the Delta variant, also contributed to the spread because it was highly transmissible. The daily COVID-19 death rate recently rose to over 2,000, which was unimaginable six months ago.
Another troubling part of the research is that some of the 29 countries are still emerging nations, where there might be some expectation that health care systems are not as advanced as they are in America. However, Croatia, Estonia, Slovenia and Slovakia were among the 29 nations from which data were collected. However sophisticated U.S. health care is, the American results are tragic.