What is it about?

COVID-19 affected life expectancy around the world. In the US life expectancy losses were much larger for Hispanic and Black males in the US compared with their White counterparts. The study shows declines in life expectancy for Hispanic males were largely accounted for by official COVID-19 deaths, whereas Black Americans also saw increases in deaths from cardiovascular disease and “deaths of despair” (i.e., suicide-, drug- and alcohol-related mortality).

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Why is it important?

The high burden of COVID-19 mortality in the Hispanic population, especially at working ages, suggests that exposure-related social factors outweighed any protection from previously accumulated health advantages. Among Black Americans, both COVID-19 and cardiovascular deaths rose substantially more than among White people.

Perspectives

The pandemic has affected mortality unequally. While the coronavirus itself does not discriminate, the social environment shapes risk of infection and death in ways that reflect historical inequalities.

José Manuel Aburto
London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

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This page is a summary of: Significant impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on race/ethnic differences in US mortality, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, August 2022, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2205813119.
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