A medical paper published yesterday in the BMJ got waayyy too-little press coverage in the US.
Although the paper has the dry title “Effect of the covid-19 pandemic in 2020 on life expectancy across populations in the USA and other high income countries: simulations of provisional mortality data”, its conclusions are so important that they should be drilled into American consciousness. Briefly:
- Largely because of COVID-19, US life expectancy decreased by about 1.9 years.
- But life expectancy decreased by only 0.2 years in peer countries.
- Because of this, US life expectancy now lags even further behind that of our peers: we’re now about 4.7 years behind.
- Decreases in life expectancy were greater in Hispanic and non-Hispanic Black people. US Hispanics have pretty much lost their life-expectancy advantage over the rest of us, nearly erasing the Hispanic paradox, and Black men’s life expectancy has fallen to about 67.7 years, which is what it was back in 1998.
These words don’t do the study justice. Go look at the graph of the life-expectancy cliff; it’s staggering. What this is saying is that millions of Americans have each lost years of their life expectancies. And what we all know is that a whole lot of this was due to our botched handling of the COVID-19 epidemic.
And Trump and his fellow Republicans continue to pooh-pooh this disaster, and their anti-mask, antivax rhetoric is asking for more disasters like this in the future.