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US life expectancy dropped a full year in first half of 2020, according to CDC

February 18, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.

Compression ratio: 69.9%. 2 min read.

Funeral home transporter Morgan Dean-McMillan prepares to transport a suspected Covid-19 positive body in a hospital's morgue in Baltimore, Maryland on December 23, 2020 during the Covid-19 pandemic. - The United States surpassed 18 million reported Covid-19 cases on Monday, figures from Johns Hopkins University showed, as the virus surges nationwide. When it comes to vaccination priority, long-term care residents and health workers are at the front of the line. Maryland crematorium owner Dorota Marshall hopes that her workers going to do pickups and regularly entering hospitals, hospices, nursing homes and residences, get the vaccine in the next round. Marshall says "We visit homes where people recently died from Covid or family members are positive, so absolutely I think we are front line workers." (Photo by Andrew CABALLERO-REYNOLDS / AFP) (Photo by ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images)

Life expectancy in the US dropped a full year in the first half of 2020, according to a report published Thursday by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics. Experts say that Covid-19 was a significant factor contributing to the decline.

(CNN)Life expectancy in the US dropped a full year in the first half of 2020, according to a report published Thursday by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics.

The life expectancy for the entire US population fell to 77. 8 years, similar to what it was in 2006, CDC data shows.

Compared to 2019, life expectancy for non-Hispanic Black people in the US fell about three times what it did for non-Hispanic White people, by 2. 7 years.

Life-expectancy disparities between Black people and White people had been shrinking in recent years, but these latest figures reverse some of that progress.

Over the past 40 years, life expectancy has increased slowly but rarely declined.

Between 2014 and 2017 -- a peak period of the opioid epidemic -- life expectancy declined a third of a year, which itself was significant.

Life-expectancy estimates before 1980 have been measured less consistently, but experts told CNN that estimates for drops in life expectancy after World War II range from less than a year to three years.

"A year of life expectancy lost doesn't really give you a true sense of how serious this has been.

Millions of life years were actually lost," Eileen Crimmins, a professor at the University of Southern California who has researched changes in mortality, told CNN.

Most deaths due to Covid-19 have been among older adults, which would have a small effect on overall life expectancy.

But Theresa Andrasfay, a researcher at the University of Southern California who has published work on the potential impact of Covid-19 on life expectancy, notes that while deaths among younger adults may be less common, the numbers are still substantial.

"Those deaths have a significant effect on life expectancy because they contribute to more foregone years of life," she told CNN.

Disparities in years lost among Black and Hispanic people are in line with the disproportionate effect Covid-19 has had on communities of color.

The new life-expectancy estimates from the CDC mark the first time the agency has published these figures using provisional data that comes from death certificates that were received and processed for the first half of 2020.

Because it is based on deaths recorded between January and June, the report notes that the estimates "do not reflect the entirety of the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, or other changes in causes of death. "

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