Life Expectancy

Average life expectancy in the United States dropped in 2020. A new study published in The BMJ found between 2018 and 2020, the decrease in average life expectancy at birth in the U.S. was roughly 1.9 years.  This is horrible compared to other high-income countries. In fact, the decrease is 8.5 times larger than the average decrease in 16 comparable countries, which was about 2.5 months. The pandemic is not the sole cause.

Steven Woolf is director emeritus of the Center on Society and Health at Virginia Commonwealth University. He led the new study. He concluded:

“What I didn’t anticipate was how badly the U.S. would handle the pandemic. We haven’t had a decrease of that magnitude since World War II.”

White Americans average life expectancy at birth dropped by about 1.4 years between 2018 and 2020. The average Hispanic American’s decreased by just under 3.9 years. The average lifespan of a Black American decreased by 3.25 years.

The OIG issued a report on how Covid affected Medicare beneficiaries. The report found:

  • Two in five Medicare beneficiaries in nursing homes were diagnosed with either COVID-19 or likely COVID-19 in 2020.
  • Almost 1,000 more beneficiaries died per day in April 2020 than in April 2019.
  • Overall mortality in nursing homes increased to 22 percent in 2020 from 17 percent in 2019.
  • About half of Black, Hispanic, and Asian beneficiaries in nursing homes had or likely had COVID-19, and 41 percent of White beneficiaries did.