COVID-19 has significantly impacted life expectancy at birth for Americans, a new study has found.

Teams from the University of Southern California (USC) and Princeton have been looking at how coronavirus, which has so far claimed more than 336,000 lives in the US, has impacted life expectancy.

They say the pandemic has shortened life by 1.13 years to 77.48 years — the largest single-year decline in life expectancy is at least 40 years.

For people from black or other ethnic minority backgrounds, the figures are even worse. The researchers predict life expectancy will shorten by 2.10 years to 72.78 years among black people, and for Latinos, by 3.05 years to 78.77 years.

Study author Dr Theresa Andrasfay, a postdoctoral fellow at the USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology, said: “Our study analyses the effect of this exceptional number of deaths on life expectancy for the entire nation, as well as the consequences for marginalised groups.

“The COVID-19 pandemic’s disproportionate effect on the life expectancy of Black and Latino Americans likely has to do with their greater exposure through their workplace or extended family contacts, in addition to receiving poorer health care, leading to more infections and worse outcomes.”

Study co-author Noreen Goldman, the Hughes-Rogers Professor of Demography and Public Affairs at the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs, added: “The huge decline in life expectancy for Latinos is especially shocking given that Latinos have lower rates than the white and Black populations of most chronic conditions that are risk factors for COVID-19.

“The generally good health of Latinos prior to the pandemic, which should have protected them from COVID-19, has laid bare the risks associated with social and economic disadvantage.”

The study was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal.

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