In Europe, Covid-19 has led to an unprecedented drop in life expectancy in the seventies.

The Covid-19 pandemic has caused a decline in life expectancy in Western Europe unprecedented since World War II. In a study published Monday, Oct. 17, in the journal Natural human behaviorThe Leverhulme Center for Population Sciences in Oxford (UK) and the Max-Planck Institute for Population Research in Rostock (Germany) analyzed changes in this indicator between 2019 and 2021 in twenty-seven European countries and the United States. and Chile.

Although all countries experienced a loss of life expectancy during the pandemic, the trend was most marked in Eastern and Central Europe. Huge drops found in Bulgaria, which lost a total of 3.5 years of life expectancy over the two years, followed by Poland at 2.8 years. On the other side of the Atlantic, the United States ranks third (-2.4 years, according to this study). Only Norway emerges with a net increase between 2019 and 2021, a small gain made possible by almost two extra months of life expectancy, an earlier vaccination campaign and a more efficient health system.

“In fact, life expectancy losses are greater than the study’s authors suggest because, without Covid-19, one would have expected life expectancy to increase slightly in 2020 and 2021 everywhere.Research director Carlo Giovanni Camarta insists The National Institute of Population Studies did not participate in the study. In addition, many countries lack reliable data and could not be taken into account in the study, such as Brazil and Mexico. “In 2020, life expectancy losses were incurred [ces deux pays] This is higher than recorded in the US, so they may continue to experience mortality impacts in 2021, and may even exceed the 43-month loss we estimate for Bulgaria.”Co-author of the study, José Manuel Aburto of the University of Oxford explains.

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Some are returning to pre-pandemic levels

Life expectancy is a snapshot of current mortality conditions if they continue without progression or deterioration. It is calculated on the basis of all deaths occurring in a year, all causes combined; It therefore does not depend on the accuracy of the recording of deaths linked to Covid-19, which may lack rigor and vary by country. It thus provides a comprehensive picture of the impact of epidemics on mortality and facilitates comparisons between countries and past disasters.

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