Estimating Covid’s impact on average life expectancy in US
The US has lost nearly 1.8 lakh lives to Covid-19, and the count is rising by around 1,000 each day.
How far has this changed average life expectancy?
- Demographers at University of California–Berkeley have estimated that Covid-19 is likely to shorten the average US lifespan in 2020 by about a year.
- They made their estimates using two scenarios. One was based on a projection of 1 million deaths for the year, and the other on the more likely projection of 2.5 lakh deaths.
- They conclude that 1 million deaths in 2020 would cut three years off the average US life expectancy, while 2.5 lakh deaths (more likely scenario) would reduce lifespans by about a year.
- The findings are published in the journal PNAS.
- The reasons the estimated drop in life expectancy modest, the researchers said, are partly because 250,000 deaths is not a large increase on top of the 3 million non-Covid deaths expected for 2020, and because Covid deaths include many older people, who typically have fewer years left.
- The researchers said that without the societal efforts that have occurred to lessen the impact of Covid-19, there could have been 2 million deaths projected by the end of 2020. This would have caused a reduction of the average US lifespan by five years