While the purpose of this article is to highlight race disparities. You can read between the lines, especially with the new EMS telemedicine framework where especially Medicare patients can be transported to other facilities besides a hospital. Link Read between the lines.
Pandemic Drives Largest Decrease in U.S. Life Expectancy Since 1943
U.S. life expectancy decreased by 1.87 years between 2018 and 2020, a drop not seen since World War II, according to new research. The numbers are even worse for people of color. On average, whereas life expectancy among white Americans decreased by 1.36 years in 2020, it decreased by 3.25 years in Black Americans and 3.88 years in Hispanic Americans.
U.S. life expectancy decreased by 1.87 years between 2018 and 2020, a drop not seen since World War II, according to new research from Virginia Commonwealth University, the University of Colorado Boulder and the Urban Institute.
The numbers are even worse for people of color. On average, whereas life expectancy among white Americans decreased by 1.36 years in 2020, it decreased by 3.25 years in Black Americans and 3.88 years in Hispanic Americans.
The data was released today in The BMJ, a journal published by the British Medical Association.
Other countries also saw declines in life expectancy between 2018 and 2020, but the loss of life expectancy in the U.S. was 8.5 times that of the average for 16 peer countries. The declines for minority populations were 15 to 18 times larger than other countries.
“When the pandemic came, my naïve assumption was that it would not have a big impact on the preexisting gap between the U.S. and peer countries,” said Steven Woolf, M.D., the study’s lead author and director emeritus of VCU’s Center on Society and Health. “It was a global pandemic, and I assumed that every country would take a hit. What I did not anticipate was how badly the U.S. would fare in the pandemic and the enormous death toll that the U.S. would experience.”
The U.S. death toll has surpassed 600,000, according to Johns Hopkins University’s Coronavirus Resource Center. Excess deaths, which exceed the official count, may contribute to the impact of the pandemic, according to previous research led by Woolf.
Life expectancy trends in the U.S. were already “very worrying,” Woolf said. Since the 1980s, improvements in life expectancy in the U.S. have not kept pace with peer countries. Around 2010, life expectancy in America plateaued and then decreased for three consecutive years. It continued to climb in other countries.
“The gap has been widening for some time,” Woolf said.
Then COVID-19 hit, and the United States had among the world’s highest per-capita mortality rates. Black and Hispanic communities were hit harder than white populations.
Woolf’s paper is the first to show the significance of the widening life expectancy gaps. Previous reports only included data from the first half of 2020 and did not provide the comparison to peer countries.