Bulgaria with the most Drastic Drop in Life Expectancy
The COVID pandemic has caused an unprecedented increase in mortality worldwide, leading to a decrease in life expectancy. A study last year found that 2020 saw a significant drop in life expectancy - by more than two years in the US and by one year in England and Wales.
But now a new study published in Nature Human Behavior shows that in 2021 life expectancy has recovered somewhat in most Western European countries, while Eastern Europe and the US have seen further declines in life expectancy. "Bulgaria is the most extreme example with a staggering loss of 3.5 years since 2019 (1.5 years in 2020 and two years in 2021)," Science Alert wrote.
The larger decline in Eastern Europe is likely due to the region avoiding some of the early waves of COVID in 2020, combined with lower vaccine uptake when 2021 did see large waves.
In 2021, only Norway surpassed pre-pandemic life expectancy, and everywhere it is worse than it probably would have been without the pandemic.
The outlook for 2021 is mixed, with the excitement of vaccine launches overshadowed by the overwhelming number of infections caused by a series of new and highly transmissible variants.
To assess the impact of these changes on life expectancy, a research team from Oxford University's Leverhulme Center for Demographic Sciences and the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research collected data from 29 mostly European countries (plus Chile and the US).
Life expectancy is calculated based on deaths from all causes. Life expectancy is the number of years someone born today could expect to live if they lived their entire lives at the current year's (or 2021 in this case) death rate.
There is much greater variation between countries in the impact of the...
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