That the coronavirus has marked a clear dividing line between what life was like before the virus and after is no mystery, but the effects, as well as the aftermath of the pandemic will be clearly visible even in the long term. Indeed, according to a study conducted in England, the Covid pandemic caused the largest decrease in life expectancy in Western Europe since World War II.. Data from most of the twenty-nine countries – spanning the majority of Europe, the United States and Chile – analyzed by scientists recorded reductions in life expectancy last year, on a scale that erased years of progress.
The largest falls in life expectancy were recorded among males in the United States, with a 2.2-year drop from 2019 levels, followed by Lithuanian males (1.7 years). According to the research, led by scientists from Oxford’s Leverhulme Center for Demographic Science, the losses in life expectancy exceeded those recorded during the dissolution of the Eastern Bloc in Central and Eastern Europe.
Dr. José Manuel Aburto, co-lead author of the study, said: “For Western European countries such as Spain, England and Wales, Italy, Belgium, among others, the last time such large declines were recorded. life expectancy at birth, observed in just one year, was during the Second World War ”. The results are contained in an article published on‘International Journal of Epidemiology after analyzing the twenty-nine countries for which official death registers had been published for the past year. A total of twenty-seven countries experienced reductions in life expectancy.
Dietrofront after 40 years
Last week, the UK’s National Bureau of Statistics estimated that life expectancy for men in the UK fell for the first time in 40 years due to the impact of Covid-19. A boy born between 2018 and 2020 is expected to live to be 79, down from 79.2 in the 2015-17 period, according to the ONS (Office for National Statistics). Aburto also said that the magnitude of the losses in life expectancy was stark in most of the countries studied, with twenty-two of them showing a decrease of nearly half a year in 2020.
“Females in eight countries and males in eleven countries suffered losses of more than a year. To put it into context, it took an average of 5.6 years for these countries to recently achieve a one-year increase in life expectancy: progress wiped out in 2020 by Covid-19. ” Males experienced a greater drop in life expectancy than females in most of the twenty-nine countries. According to the study, most of the reductions in life expectancy in several countries are attributable to official deaths from Covid.
Dr Ridhi Kashyap, another co-author, said the researchers were aware of several issues related to the Covid death tally, such as inadequate testing or misclassification. However, he added that “the fact that our results highlight such a great impact that it is directly attributable to Covid-19 shows how much a devastating shock for many countries“. – hence the appeal- “We urgently demand the publication and availability of more disaggregated data from a wider range of countries, including low- and middle-income countries, to better understand the impacts of the pandemic globally”.
The ONS estimates earlier this month showed variation across different parts of the UK in terms of life expectancy, which refers to the average age a newborn would live if current mortality rates continued throughout the UK. life. Life expectancy for males decreased in England, from 79.5 years in 2015-17 to 79.3 years in 2018-2, and in Scotland from 77 to 76.8. But it rose slightly in Northern Ireland from 78.4 to 78.7, while it remained broadly unchanged in Wales at 78.3.
A problem not only across the Channel
Even if no study has been carried out on the matter, Italy indirectly risks decreasing its life expectancy, despite a 2015 report awarding the Bel Paese precisely for the longevity recorded; with an average of 82.7 years, Italy was among the first countries in Europe for life expectancy, immediately after Switzerland. But this happened before. Due to Covid and its side effects in 2020 in Italy, life expectancy fell by 1.2 years to 82 years. “Only” seven months, but which risk becoming many more if the gap between patients and treatment is not bridged quickly.
For this reason, the Italian Society of Surgery, Sic, has raised the alarm: over 400,000 surgeries and more than a million hospitalizations were canceled in 2020. A slowdown still continued in 2021 and the figures rise if in addition to general surgery, specialist ones are added: a million frozen operations. But the negative trend is bound to increase. Alongside the interventions, with waiting lists already extended by three or even six months, prevention has also received a heavy blow.
In fact, millions of tests have been skipped, crucial screenings for early diagnosis, which is almost always the key to surviving cancer; as well as an enormous problem for cancer patients to be treated regularly due to the overcrowding of intensive care units, all committed to combating the coronavirus. She had become the spokesperson for this battle Martina Luoni, the Milanese girl suffering from colon cancer who in November 2020 had denounced with a video on Instagram the difficulties of cancer patients to be treated due to Covid.
In the video Martina told how the Lombard health system was totally collapsed, especially when the Region was in the red zone: “I, like many other cancer patients, are experiencing a very difficult period, as if our pathology were not enough, now we also have to fight against a global pandemic that is closing clinics and skipping visits.” Unfortunately, last September 14 Martina did not make it and died at the age of 27.
The Undersecretary of Health, Pierpaolo Sileri, a week ago he pushed for the establishment of a Technical Table to recover the interventions suspended due to Covid, especially after the words of Professor Francesco Basile, director of the Surgical Clinic of the Catania Polyclinic and president of Sic: “We urgently need to find solutions in order to guaranteeing surgery to every patient in a short time. “