Life expectancy in US declines by a year as coronavirus pandemic hits, shows data

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Life expectancy in the United States fell by a whole year in the first half of 2020 as the Covid-19 pandemic started to grip the country, official figures showed on Thursday.

Life expectancy at birth for the total US population was 77.8 years, declining by a year from 78.8 in 2019, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said.

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Minorities were the hardest hit, with life expectancy decreasing three years for non-Hispanic Blacks and nearly two years for the Hispanic population.

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Life expectancy at birth in the first half of last year was the lowest level since 2006, the report said, though it said the figures were provisional as the US continues to count the cost of the pandemic.

The figures “do not reflect the entirety of the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, or other changes in causes of death, such as the increases in provisional drug overdose deaths,” it said.

Minorities have suffered high Covid fatalities partly due to employees who cannot work from home, larger households and poorer access to health care including testing.

The country has so far registered 490,000 coronavirus deaths, by far the highest national death toll anywhere in the world.

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