By Lauren Victoria Burke
(NNPA) – Black Americans have lost three years in life expectancy over the last two years according to estimates by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The decline is the largest since World War II. The life expectancy gap by race is now the widest since 1998 and at a 15-year low overall.
Non-Hispanic Black males now have the lowest life expectancy of any group. The new data shows that African Americans on average live six years less in life expectancy than Whites. The Covid-19 pandemic hit Black and Americans harder than any other group of Americans. Underlying health issues and lack of health care were a factor.
Overall, African Americans are hospitalized at three times the rate of white Americans. African Americans die at double the rate from COVID than all other groups according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The impact of COVID-19, which is the cause of 500,000 deaths in less than two years, is a leading cause, not just on deaths directly due to infection but also from heart disease, cancer and other conditions. The definition of “life expectancy” is calculated by how long someone born today is expected to live. The average life expectancy last year was 77.8.
Though Covid-19 was clearly the driver of the depressing new statistics on life expectancy, drug overdoses and other health factors also factored into the data.
President Biden and Democrats in Congress are currently structuring a multi-billion COVID relief package. Former President Trump largely ignored the coronavirus crisis as mortality numbers mounted. After Trump’s loss to Biden, departments of the federal government are focused on the COVID pandemic.