Articles

COVID-19 Reduced Average Life Expectancy of Americans by Five Days, Not One Year

The CDC made a mistake.
Originally published on 02/25/2021 in STAT News

To remain the world’s gold standard public health agency, the CDC must work tirelessly to get both its facts and its messages right

Because the CDC’s calculation is a projection, it serves as an early warning of how people in our society will do in the future if we do nothing different from today. But in this case, the CDC should assume that COVID-19 will cause an increase in mortality for only a brief period relative to the span of a normal lifetime. If you assume the COVID-19 risk of 2020 carries forward unabated, you will overstate the life expectancy declines it causes.

Peter Bach estimates that when COVID-19’s ravages in 2020 are averaged across the country’s entire population, Americans each lost about five days of life.

Read the full editorial here.

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