Global Life Expectancy Dropped by Almost Two Years Due to Covid: WHO

Sat May 25 2024
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GENEVA: Covid-19 slashed global life expectancy by almost two years when it raged from 2019 to 2021, erasing decades of progress, the World Health Organization said on Friday.

The UN health agency said that the Covid-19 pandemic reversed the trend of sustained increases in life expectancy at birth and healthy life expectancy at birth.

Global life expectancy fell by 1.8 years to 71.4 years, the same as in 2012, according to WHO’s annual World Health Statistics Survey.

The length of time the average person can expect to live in good health fell by 1.5 years to 61.9 years in 2021 – also on par with 2012, the study said.

The impact was even worse than the findings of a study published in January in the Lancet, which found that life expectancy fell by 1.6 years during the pandemic.

Researchers for the study said that Covid-19 had a “more profound impact” on life expectancy than any other event in the last half century.

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WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the figures underscored the importance of the global pandemic security agreement being negotiated in Geneva “to strengthen global health security but protect long-term investments in health and promote equity within and between countries”.

Lancet researchers estimated that Covid-19 caused 15.9 million deaths in 2020-2021, either as a result of the virus or disruptions to health systems related to the pandemic.

However, the WHO study said that life expectancy is not falling in the same way around the world.

The worst affected regions were the Americas and Southeast Asia, where life expectancy fell by about three years.

The western Pacific was least affected, with life expectancy reduced by only 0.1 year.

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