New federal data draws one of the starkest illustrations to date of how the coronavirus pandemic has disproportionately affected Hispanic and Black Americans, showing that they suffered a far steeper drop in life expectancy in 2020 than white Americans.
It was the steepest decline in the United States since World War II.
From 2019 to 2020, Hispanic people experienced the greatest drop in life expectancy — three years — and Black Americans saw a decrease of 2.9 years. White people experienced the smallest decline, of 1.2 years.
The coronavirus “uncovered the deep racial and ethnic inequities in access to health, and I don’t think that we’ve ever overcome them,” said Dr. Mary T. Bassett, a former New York City health commissioner and professor of health and human rights at Harvard University, who characterized the findings as devastating but unsurprising. “To think that we’ll just bounce back from them seems a bit wishful thinking.”
Life expectancy numbers provide only a snapshot in time of the general health of a population: If American children born today spent their entire lives under the conditions of 2020, they would live an average of 77.3 years, down from 78.8 in 2019.
The last time life expectancy was so low was in 2003, according to the National Center for Health Statistics, the agency that released the figures and a part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
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SOURCE: The New York Times, Julie Bosman, Sophie Kasakove and Daniel Victor