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COVID-19 pandemic reduced life expectancy by most since World War II: Oxford study

Sep 27, 2021, 2:48 PM IST

The coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic brought life expectancy down by the largest amount since World War II, a study published by Oxford University on Monday stated. The life expectancy dropped by more than two years for American men in 2020, according to the study.

The study showed that life expectancy dropped by more than six months compared with 2019 in 22 countries and reductions in life expectancy were seen in 27 countries out of the 29, including the United States, Europe and Chile.    

Women in 15 countries and men in 10 countries were found to have a lower expectancy at birth in 2020 than in 2015, a year in which life expectancy was already negatively affected by a significant flu season. According to the Oxford University study, most life expectancy reductions in 2020 across countries can be linked to official Covid deaths.

According to data by, 4,761,895 people have succumbed to Covid-19 till now across the world and the US continues to top the death toll at 706,317, followed by Brazil and India.

"The fact that our results highlight such a large impact that is directly attributable to Covid-19 shows how devastating a shock it has been for many countries," Dr Ridhi Kashyap was quoted in a Reuters report. She co-led the study, which has been published in the International Journal of Epidemiology.

The study revealed that there was a greater reduction in life expectancy for men than women in the majority of the countries. The largest reduction was seen in men from the United States, who saw life expectancy drop by 2.2 years relative to 2019.