HomeStudy finds 28m more years of life lost during 2020 pandemic

Study finds 28m more years of life lost during 2020 pandemic

A study has looked at the life expectancies of high income countries impacted by the pandemic and the results are scary.

Over 28 million more years of life were lost in 31 countries last year than expected, based on a study shedding light on the impact of the pandemic.

International researchers looked at 37 upper middle and high income countries or regions with reliable and complete mortality data.

Between 2005 and 2019, life expectancy at birth had risen in men and women in all countries studied.

But in 2020, life expectancy fell for men and women in all countries except New Zealand, Taiwan, and Norway, where there was a gain in life expectancy, the study published in the British Medical Journal found.

Russia, the United States, Bulgaria, Lithuania, Chile and Spain experienced the highest drops in life expectancy.

Meanwhile, no evidence was found of a change in life expectancy in Denmark, Iceland, and South Korea.

Australia was not included in the study.

To understand the impact of the pandemic, researchers, led by the University of Oxford’s Dr Nazrul Islam, counted excess deaths – the difference between actual and expected deaths from all causes – and how premature they were.

They compared the observed life expectancy and years of life lost in 2020 with what would be expected, based on historical trends from 2005-19 in the countries studied.

In 2020, the years of life lost were more than expected in all countries except Taiwan, New Zealand, Norway, Iceland, Denmark, and South Korea.

In the rest of the 31 countries, more than 222 million years of life was lost in 2020, which is 28.1 million more than expected.

The highest excess years of life lost were in Russia, Bulgaria, Lithuania and the US.

Overall, excess years of life lost to the pandemic last year were more than five times higher than those associated with the seasonal influenza epidemic in 2015.

Researchers said there were some limitations with the data, given they did not include most countries from Asia, Africa, and Latin America due to a lack of data, but maintained the results were robust, as they were in line with previous studies.


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