With living standards and medical breakthroughs equally advanced for the course in the modern world, it is astonishing to find that life expectancy has recently been drop in many developed countries.
Of course, the COVID-19 pandemic has tragically claimed millions of lives, which helps explain some of the trend, especially in 2020. But it is important to note that life expectancy was shrinking before the pandemic in many developed countries.
Factors that have reduced life expectancy in recent years include:
- Influenza outbreak and severe pneumonia
- The opioid epidemic in the United States
- Population aging in many countries, with deaths from respiratory disease, cardiovascular disease and Alzheimer’s disease
Thanks to the pandemic, 2020 has been a particularly difficult year for many developed countries. Using statistics from Eurostat – the statistical office of the European Union – and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, here is a sample of developed countries where life expectancy has declined by at least one year in 2020.
Decreased life expectancy: One year
In the fall of 2020, Slovenia experienced a sudden doubling of COVID-19 infections. The nation responded by declaring a state of emergency for 30 days, including banning some travel, imposing curfews, banning public and religious events, and limiting the number of people allowed to gather to just six.
By early 2021, citizens were worried. The government relented, reopening ski resorts and some shops, and allowing more travel.
Czech Republic It also recorded a one-year decline in life expectancy in 2020, Eurostat says.
Decreased life expectancy: 1.2 years
By October 2020, COVID-19 has arrived in full force in Belgium, home to the headquarters of both the European Union and NATO. During that month, the country recorded the highest rate of coronavirus infection per 100,000 citizens in the European Union.
Closing follows. But by the beginning of this year, Belgium had the second highest COVID-19 death rate in the world in proportion to its total population, after only the small city of San Marino.
Italy It also recorded a 1.2-year reduction in life expectancy during 2020.
Decreased life expectancy: 1.4 years
With 2020 coming to a close, Poland has struggled mightily to contain the spread of COVID-19. Cases peaked at 27,000 a day in November.
By the end of last year, the situation was bad enough for the nation to go into national quarantine from December 28 to January 17 this year. Hotels, ski slopes and shopping centers closed their doors.
Lithuania and Romania It also recorded a decrease in life expectancy by 1.4 years during 2020.
United States of America
Decreased life expectancy: 1.5 years
The coronavirus has taken a heavy toll on life expectancy in the United States, with a 1.5-year decline in 2020.
For the total population, life expectancy at birth fell from 78.8 years in 2019 to 77.3 years in 2020. This has reduced life expectancy in America to its lowest level since 2003, according to the Centers for Disease Control. and prevention.
Bulgaria It also recorded a 1.5-year decline in life expectancy last year.
Decreased life expectancy: 1.6 years
The COVID-19 coronavirus hit Spain hard in 2020, resulting in a mortality rate that reached its highest level since these statistics were first compiled in the 1970s.
The number of births has also fallen sharply to a record low, and weddings have fallen by almost half compared to 2019.
Decreased life expectancy: 2.4 years
During the pandemic, this small country — with a population of less than 40,000, and sandwiched between Austria and Switzerland — had one of the highest confirmed per capita death rates in the world.
In an echo of what was happening in the United States and many other countries at the time, late 2020 saw a spike in cases in Liechtenstein, with hospitals and healthcare workers under pressure.
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