(ORDO NEWS) — The COVID-19 pandemic has caused changes in global mortality not seen in seven decades, researchers say.
The COVID pandemic caused a “lingering shock” to life expectancy levels, leading to global changes in mortality not seen in 70 years, according to a new study.
According to experts, previous epidemics quickly returned to the level of life expectancy. But as Sky News notes, the rate and extent of COVID-19 deaths belie claims that the coronavirus pandemic has had no more impact than a flu-like illness, the scientists added.
The researchers also warn that countries with “ineffective” responses will face a health crisis with “medium-term delays” in life expectancy.
According to the findings, countries with a high proportion of vaccinated people are expected to experience smaller declines in life expectancy compared to other countries.
A study by Leverhulme’s Oxford Center for Demographic Sciences and Germany’s Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research also found that life expectancy has “bounced back” in much of Western Europe in 2021.
However, experts said that the scale of deaths from COVID “drives claims that the coronavirus has had no greater impact than a flu-type illness,” maddening.
The researchers said the “losses in life expectancy” during influenza epidemics in the second half of the last century were “much smaller and less widespread” than those recorded during the COVID pandemic.
England and Wales saw a partial recovery from 2020 levels in 2021, while life expectancy in Scotland and Northern Ireland remained at the same “depressive level” as in 2020.
Sweden, Switzerland, Belgium and France have fully recovered from COVID, returning to pre-pandemic 2019 levels of life expectancy.
Eastern Europe and the US saw a “worsening or worsening loss” in life expectancy over the same period.
The researchers say that the extent of the decline in life expectancy in Eastern Europe was “akin to” those last seen during the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Study co-author Dr Ridhi Kashyap says that “a notable shift between 2020 and 2021 was that age patterns of excess mortality shifted in 2021 towards younger age groups as vaccines began to protect older people.”
Another co-author, Dr. Jonas Shawley, notes that more precise “details of the age priority of vaccine deployment and the types of vaccines used may explain some of these differences.”
The study reports that the distribution of the vaccine and the capacity of the healthcare system may also have an impact.
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