*The life expectancy for Blacks and Latinos in the United States has reportedly dropped significantly amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The Associated Press writes, “Minorities suffered the biggest impact, with Black Americans losing nearly three years and Hispanics, nearly two years, according to preliminary estimates Thursday from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”
“This is a huge decline,” said Robert Anderson, who oversees the numbers for the CDC. “You have to go back to World War II, the 1940s, to find a decline like this.”
U.S. life expectancy has gone from 78.8 years in 2019 to 77.8 years currently, according to the preliminary report.
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Per the preliminary report, between 2019 and the first half of 2020, life expectancy decreased 2.7 years for Black people, to 72. It dropped 1.9 years for Hispanics, to 79.9, and 0.8 years for white people, to 78. The study did not analyze trends for Asian or Native Americans.
“What is really quite striking in these numbers is that they only reflect the first half of the year … I would expect that these numbers would only get worse,” said Dr. Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo at the University of California, San Francisco.
COVID-19 and the rise in drug overdose deaths are said to be the main contributing factor behind the decline in life expectancy among people of color in the U.S.
“I knew it was going to be large but when I saw those numbers, I was like, ‘Oh my God,’” said federal researcher Elizabeth Arias on the racial disparity in life expectancy. “We haven’t seen a decline of that magnitude in decades.” Health equity researcher and University of California dean Dr. Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo has warned that these numbers could get worse, especially since only the first half of 2020 led to this decline.
“Black and Hispanic communities throughout the United States have borne the brunt of this pandemic,” explained Bibbins-Domingo.