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Covid lowered life expectancy by 1.6 years worldwide – Study

Covid-19 caused the average life expectancy of people worldwide to fall by 1.6 years during the first two years of the pandemic, a more dramatic decline than previously thought, a major study said Tuesday

Covid lowered life expectancy by 1.6 years worldwide – Study

This marked a sharp reversal during a decades-long rise in global life expectancy, according to hundreds of researchers sifting through data for the US-based Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME).

“For adults worldwide, the Covid-19 pandemic has had a more profound impact than any event seen in half a century, including conflicts and natural disasters,” said Austin Schumacher, an IHME researcher and lead author of the study published in The Lancet journal.

During 2020-2021, life expectancy declined in 84 percent of the 204 countries and territories analysed, “demonstrating the devastating potential impacts” of new viruses, he said in a statement.

The rate of death for people over 15 rose by 22 percent for men and 17 percent for women during this time, the researchers estimated.

Mexico City, Peru and Bolivia were some of the places were life expectancy fell the most.

But there was some good news in the updated estimates of the IHME’s landmark Global Burden of Disease study.

Half a million fewer children under the age of five died in 2021 compared to 2019, continuing a long-term decline in child mortality.

IHME researcher Hmwe Hmwe Kyu hailed this “incredible progress,” saying the world should now focus on “the next pandemic and addressing the vast disparities in health across countries”.

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