The COVID-19 pandemic has caused the largest decline in life expectancy in Europe since World War II, according to a study.
The data were obtained from 29 countries, including most of Europe, the United States and Chile, according to an article by The Guardian.
The largest declines in life expectancy occurred among men in the United States, down 2.2 years from 2019 levels, followed by men in Lithuania (1.7 years).
According to research led by scientists at the Leverhulme Center for Demographic Science in Oxford, the loss of life expectancy exceeded those recorded at the time of the dissolution of the eastern bloc in Central and Eastern Europe.
“For Western European countries such as Spain, England and Wales, Italy and Belgium, among others, the last time such large declines in life expectancy at birth were observed in a single year was during World War II”, explains Dr. José Manuel Aburto, co-author of the study.
The results of the work were published in the International Journal of Epidemiology. Of the 29 countries that released official death records for the past year, 27 experienced reductions in life expectancy.
According to the UK Office for National Statistics (ONS), a man born between 2018 and 2020 is expected to live to age 79, up from 79.2 in 2015-2017.
“We urgently call for more disaggregated data from a greater number of countries, including low- and middle-income countries, to be published and available to better understand the impacts of the pandemic globally,” the authors add.