Global Life Expectancy Drops Nearly Two Years

World Health Organization (WHO)

World Health Organization (WHO)

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on health, the economy and daily life worldwide. One of the most significant consequences has been the reduction in average life expectancy worldwide. This report aims to present an overview of the decline in life expectancy, as reported by the World Health Organization (WHO) and other sources, and discuss the implications of this trend.

Global Life Expectancy Decline

The WHO's annual report on global health statistics, released recently, indicates that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused a notable decline in average life expectancy. The data reveals that the average human life expectancy worldwide has decreased by approximately 18 months. As a result, the current global average life expectancy stands at 71 years and 4 months, a reduction from previous estimates.

This decline is further corroborated by the world-renowned medical journal Lancet, which published an article in January stating that the pandemic had reduced global life expectancy by 1 year and 6 months. Both reports highlight the severe impact of the pandemic on human longevity.

Decrease in Healthy Life Expectancy

In addition to the decrease in overall life expectancy, the WHO report highlights a reduction in the average age of being physically fit and able. The current average healthy life expectancy is now 61 years and 9 months, marking a decrease of 1 year and 5 months. This decline underscores the pandemic's broader impact on health, beyond just mortality rates.

Historical Context

This decline in life expectancy is unprecedented in recent history. The last comparable decrease occurred in 2012, when life expectancy was also at 71 years and 4 months, and healthy life expectancy was at 61 years and 9 months. However, the magnitude and rapidity of the decline due to COVID-19 are unparalleled, making it the most significant impact on life expectancy in the past 50 years.

Statements from Health Leaders

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus emphasized the need for a global agreement on pandemic safety to address the decline in life expectancy. He called for strengthened global health security, long-term investment in the health sector, and equity in access to healthcare among member states.

Expert Opinions

Experts agree that the profound impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on life expectancy has not been matched by any other disease in recent decades. The pandemic has exposed vulnerabilities in global health systems and highlighted the importance of preparedness and investment in healthcare infrastructure.

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a significant decrease in global life expectancy and healthy life expectancy. The WHO and other health organizations emphasize the need for a coordinated global response to improve health security and ensure equitable access to healthcare. Moving forward, it is crucial for countries to learn from this pandemic and implement measures to mitigate the impact of future health crises.


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