Drop in US life expectancy second highest among wealthy countries: study | TheHill – The Hill

Life expectancy in the United States saw the second highest drop among wealthy countries during the pandemic, a new study reveals, NBC reported.

The BMJ, previously known as the British Medical Journal, published a study on Wednesday that examined what life expectancy in 2020 would have been after analyzing historical trends between 2005 and 2019, and compared that to observed life expectancy in 2020, according to the network.

Studying data from 37 countries, the study found that U.S. life expectancy declined close to 2.3 years for men and over 1.6 years for women. The lead author, Dr. Nazrul Islam, told NBC News that the deaths of young people fueled the drop in life expectancy.

“That’s really, really sobering,” Islam said.

The only country that fared worse than the U.S. was Russia. The study found that Lithuania and Bulgaria also suffered large declines in life expectancy. In total, 31 countries saw a drop in life expectancy out of the 37 analyzed, according to NBC News.

Three countries saw an increase in life expectancy — Norway, Taiwan and New Zealand. Three other countries — South Korea, Denmark and Iceland — saw little change before and after 2020. 

The study noted, however, that between 2005 and 2019, all 37 countries saw life expectancy going up.

The sobering details come as the U.S. early last month surpassed the grim milestone of 700,000 COVID-19 deaths. More than five million people have died worldwide from the coronavirus. 

Despite the fact that COVID-19 vaccines are widely accessible in the U.S., pockets of the United States remain unvaccinated and conversations about potential herd immunity earlier this year have shifted to an acknowledgment that people will likely need to learn how to live with the virus, similar to the flu.