Covid pandemic slashes a YEAR off life expectancy in UK and US – with men and ethnic minorities hit hardest

THE coronavirus pandemic has cut life expectancy for Brits and Americans by more than a year, data shows.

New estimates from the University of Southern California show that the average lifespan in the US has fallen by 1.13 years.

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A separate study, published by the University of Oxford last month, found similar decreases in life expectancy for Britons.

Researchers said life expectancy at birth (LEB) in 2020 had fallen by 1.2 years for males and 0.9 years for females since 2019.

The average life expectancy for men born in Britain is now 78.7 years and 82.6 years for women.

The UK study is based on excess mortality, this means the number of deaths expected for the time of year from historical trends.

Life expectancy is measured from how long someone would live if they were born today under the current circumstances.

This would mean that they would be born at a time when hospitals in the UK are stretched to capacity.


It was also revealed this week that NHS waiting lists are at their worst for a decade as the pandemic has created delays for millions of people.

This means that a person born today might not have access to the same treatments and at the same pace as others before them – as cancer treatments are postponed and ambulances are seen lining up outside hospitals.

Life expectancy in both the UK and US had been increasing since the middle of the 20th century.

In 2010 it plateaued in both countries.

The data from the UK study looks at figures from March 2 to November 2.

It recorded 57,419 excess deaths which is 15 per cent higher than what it should have been before the coronavirus pandemic struck.

The researchers said that the true drop in life expectancy is likely to be higher than the larger figure due to a spike in cases in November and December.


Cases across the country have started to drop this week and data from Public Health England (PHE) states that just 36 per cent of local authorities have seen a rise in cases.

However hospital admissions are still on the rise, and more hospital admissions sadly means more deaths.

The writers stated: "Fifty-five per cent of [excess deaths] occurred in men,' the researchers write.

"Excess deaths increased sharply with age and men experienced elevated risks of death in all age groups."

When it comes to deaths caused by Covid-19, both the US and UK have been hit hard by the pandemic.

The UK has had over 87,000 deaths so far and the US has had 389,000.


The American researchers said that the pandemic has "reversed over ten years of progress made in closing black-white gap", the MailOnline reported.

Before the coronavirus pandemic this gap had shrunk to 3.6 years.

The study, which was received for review in July last year found that from deprived areas were more susceptible to Covid-19.

This was also found in a paper published in the UK which found that the virus was killing double the amount of people in poorer areas.

Experts previously also highlighted how there was a "North/South" divide with Covid deaths in the UK.

Dr Zoe Williams said many people Northern areas were more likely to have jobs that made them exposed to Covid-19.

She also highlighted that many people may not be able to afford to self isolate if coming into contact with someone who has the virus.

Looking at other ethnic groups and the US study found that before the pandemic, the difference in life expectancy between Latinos and white people have been three years and over.

Whites had an expectancy of 78.5 and Lationos 81.8 years.

But the difference the pandemic has made to these figures is "shocking".

 Professor Noreen Goldman, co-author of the paper said: "The Covid-19 pandemic's disproportionate effect on the life expectancy of Black and Latino Americans likely has to do with their greater exposure through their workplace or extended family contacts, in addition to receiving poorer health care, leading to more infections and worse outcomes. 

"The generally good health of Latinos prior to the pandemic, which should have protected them from Covid-19, has laid bare the risks associated with social and economic disadvantage."

The experts said there had been a "disproportionate" number of deaths in younger age groups in Latinos.

In order to combat this the expects said programs needed to be implemented in order to reduce people's risk to the virus who may not think that they would be impacted by it.

The Oxford research is doing further analysis into how BAME populations have been effected by the pandemic,

A recent study from the Universities of Leicester and Nottingham found that people of black or Asian ethnicity are up to twice as likely to be infected with Covid as those who are white.

Patients from Asian backgrounds are also more likely to be admitted to intensive care and to die from the bug if they catch it, the researchers said.

Researchers from the Universities of Leicester and Nottingham believe poverty, poor health and frontline jobs are to blame.

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