Life expectancy for New Yorkers drops to 78 years due to COVID pandemic: health officials

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Friday, April 7, 2023
Life expectancy for New Yorkers drops due to COVID pandemic: officials
A new study has revealed the toll that the pandemic took on New Yorkers as the life expectancy dropped to 78 years between 2019 and 2020.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- A new study has revealed the toll that the pandemic took on New Yorkers as health officials say life expectancy dropped to 78 years between 2019 and 2020.

That's a decrease of nearly five years and the worst drop in decades.

The Department of Health says life expectancy among Black New Yorkers dropped to 73 years, down five and a half years from 2019.

Latino New Yorkers saw their average life expectancy drop by six years to age 77.

White New Yorkers also saw their average life expectancy drop about three years to roughly age 80.

Health officials say the pandemic was mostly to blame for the drop in life expectancy.

The pandemic resulted in a mortality rate of 241.3 deaths per 100,000 population in 2020 and its impact exceeds the 1918 influenza pandemic in New York City, which had a mortality rate of 228.9 deaths per 100,000 population, officials said.

"The pain and trauma experienced by our city is still very real to so many of us," said Health Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan. "This report is an important record of what we've been through and all that we lost. It also reflects the importance of this moment. New Yorkers' lifespans are falling, on top of years of relative flattening before COVID, and that cannot continue. It is the great challenge of our time, our city, and our Department to lay out an agenda for the next era of public health, to reverse these trends, and set us out on a new path where all New Yorkers can lead healthier, longer lives. We are putting every ounce of ourselves into achieving that goal, and honor the memory of those lost, as we do."

Other factors include overdose -- which increased more than 42% in 2020 compared to the year before.

In 2020, the drug-related death rate was highest among Black New Yorkers. The drug-related death rate for 55-64-year-olds was higher than all other age groups.

Mayor Eric Adams' administration has launched a plan to reduce overdose deaths by 15% by 2025 and double the number of New Yorkers in mental health services.

However, the Health Department said it also recognizes chronic conditions, like heart disease, are taking too many lives far too soon. Over the coming months, the city will develop and announce a plan to help New Yorkers live longer, healthier lives.

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