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Pandemic cuts US life expectancy
By:China Daily Global
update:April 11,2022
Residents receive COVID-19 booster shots at a clinic inside a church in Pennsylvania on April 5. [HANNAH BEIER/BLOOMBERG/GETTY IMAGE]
Country logs more than 80m cases as Omicron subvariant sparks surge
US life expectancy fell last year, continuing the trend of 2020, as the pandemic wreaked havoc on the health of the country and in particular on white Americans, according to a recent study.
The life expectancy of white Americans dropped by about four months last year, according to the study, which said the life expectancy of black Americans rose 0.42 years in 2021 from a decline of 3.22 years in 2020. Figures for Hispanics were flat.
The report did not include figures for Asian Americans or Native Americans. The drop among white Americans came despite the widespread availability of COVID-19 vaccines.
The study by public health experts in Colorado, Virginia, and Washington, DC, has not yet been peer-reviewed but was screened before being published online on the medRxiv server. The authors said they will soon submit it to a scientific journal to be evaluated.
The data also showed differences among gender. White males fared worse than women. But life expectancy improved for black men and women and Hispanics. That was in contrast to 2020 when life expectancy was predicted as being worse for Hispanics, black and then white Americans.
The Washington Post quoted Ryan Masters, a sociologist at the University of Colorado, as saying, "Simply speaking, the United States has failed to keep pace with the improvements in life expectancy enjoyed in other peer countries."
By last Tuesday at least 77 percent of those living in the US had received one dose of vaccine, and 65 percent were fully vaccinated.
The US Agriculture Secretary, Tom Vilsack, announced on Saturday that he had tested positive for COVID-19, joining dozens of others who have contracted the coronavirus after attending the annual Gridiron Club dinner a week earlier.
By Sunday the US had more than 80.3 million infections, with more than 985,400 related deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.
The highly contagious Omicron subvariant BA.2 has recently become the dominant strain of COVID-19 in the country. Driven by the subvariant BA.2, COVID-19 cases are rising in New York and Washington, and there are higher case counts in some states.
New cases have risen about 60 percent in New York and have doubled in Washington since the last week of March, The New York Times said.
The daily average of new coronavirus cases in the US rose 1 percent on Friday as BA.2 continued its rapid spread, the Times said. Caseloads have stopped falling rapidly across the country and have started to rise in recent days in states including Alaska, Colorado, Rhode Island, Vermont and New York.
Nationally, just 19 of the more than 3,200 counties in the US are considered high risk by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More than 95 percent of US counties are considered low risk.
Potential spike
Last week, US President Joe Biden's chief medical adviser Anthony Fauci predicted that there is likely to be a rise in COVID-19 cases in the coming weeks as well as a potential surge in the autumn.
Fauci, who serves as director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said the increase in infections could come as a result of waning immunity and the loosening of COVID-19 curbs across the US.
"I would not be surprised if we see an uptick in cases. Whether that uptick becomes a surge where there are a lot more cases is difficult to predict," he told Bloomberg on April 6.
Asked whether the US will face a COVID-19 surge in the autumn as it has experienced for the past two years, Fauci said: "I would think that we should expect that we are going to see some increase in cases as you get to the colder weather in the fall."

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