Over 20.5 million years of life may have been lost due to COVID-19

In a new study, researchers found that over 20.5 million years of life may have been lost due to COVID-19 globally, with an average of 16 years lost per death.

Years of life lost – the difference between an individual’s age at death and their life expectancy – due to COVID-19 in heavily affected countries maybe two to nine times higher than years of life lost due to average seasonal influenza.

The research was conducted by a team at Universitat Pompeu Fabra.

In the study, the team estimated years of life lost due to COVID-19 using data on over 1,279,866 deaths in 81 countries, as well as life expectancy data and projections for total deaths of COVID-19 by country.

They estimated that in total, 20,507,518 years of life may have been lost due to COVID-19 in the 81 countries included in this study – 16 years per individual death.

Of the total years of life lost, 44.9% seems to have occurred in individuals between 55 and 75 years of age, 30.2% in individuals younger than 55, and 25% in those older than 75.

In countries for which death counts by gender were available, years of life lost was 44% higher in men than in women.

Compared with other global common causes of death, years of life lost linked to COVID-19 is two to nine times greater than years of life lost linked to seasonal flu, and between a quarter and a half, as much as the years of life lost attributable to heart conditions.

The researchers caution that the results need to be understood in the context of an ongoing pandemic: they provide a snapshot of the possible impacts of COVID-19 on years of life lost as of 6 January 2021.

Estimates of years of life lost maybe over-or under-estimates due to the difficulty of accurately recording COVID-19-related deaths.

One author of the study is Héctor Pifarré i Arolas.

The study is published in Scientific Reports.

Copyright © 2021 Knowridge Science Report. All rights reserved.