The coronavirus pandemic has caused a “long-term shock” to life expectancy levels, leading to a change in global mortality not seen in the past 70 years, research shows.
Experts say previous epidemics have “bounced back” to life expectancy levels fairly quickly.
But they add that the magnitude and magnitude of COVID-19’s impact on mortality is puzzling, that it is no greater than influenza-like illness.
The researchers also warned that countries with an “ineffective” response would face a health crisis of “mid-term stagnation” in life expectancy.
The findings showed that countries with a high proportion of the vaccinated population experienced smaller declines in life expectancy than other countries.
Research from Oxford University’s Leverhulme Centre for Population Science and Germany’s Max Planck Institute for Population also found that life expectancy in much of Western Europe experienced a “rebound” in 2021.
However, experts say, coronavirus disease It’s “confusing” in terms of mortality, and it’s no bigger than a flu-like illness.
The “loss of life expectancy” during flu epidemics in the second half of the last century was “much smaller and less common” than that recorded in the COVID-19 pandemic, the researchers said.
England and Wales partially rebounded from 2020 levels in 2021, while life expectancy in Scotland and Northern Ireland remained at the same “depressed level” as in 2020.
Life expectancy fully rebounded in Sweden, Switzerland, Belgium and France, returning to pre-pandemic levels in 2019.
Eastern Europe and the US experienced a “worsening or compounding loss” in life expectancy over the same period.
The scale of life expectancy loss in Eastern Europe is “similar” to the last loss when the Soviet Union collapsed, the researchers said.
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“A notable shift between 2020 and 2021 is that the age pattern of excess mortality in 2021 shifts towards younger cohorts as vaccines begin to protect older adults,” said study co-author Dr Ridhi Kashyap.
Another co-author, Dr. Jonas Scholey, said “the age priorities of vaccine rollout and the details of the type of vaccine used may account for some of these differences”.
Vaccinations and the capacity of the healthcare system could also have an impact, the study reported.