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Photo: Jeenah Moon/Bloomberg via Getty Images

COVID-19 deaths were associated with a decline in U.S. life expectancy by more than a year in 2020, according to new research published Thursday.

Driving the news: The study, published in the journal, JAMA Network Open, found that people of color were disproportionately impacted. Compared to white people, the reduction in life expectancy is three times larger for Latinos and twice as large for Black people.

By the numbers: 2020 life expectancy in the U.S. fell overall from 78.74 years to 77.43 years, per researchers' estimates: a decline of 1.13 years for the total population, 0.68 for white people, 2.10 for Black people and 3.05 for Latinos.

  • Latinos had the largest life expectancy decline associated with the coronavirus.
    • "This unprecedented change likely stems from social and economic inequities that are associated with both higher exposure to infection and higher fatality among those infected," researchers noted, citing Latinos' low rates of health care insurance, greater likelihood to live in multigenerational households and language barriers.
  • The decrease in life expectancy has continued in 2021. COVID-19 deaths through early April 2021 "already indicate an almost 0.6-year reduction in overall 2021 U.S. life expectancy with continued disproportionate changes for the Black and Latino populations."
  • Researchers pulled data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Vital Statistics System and the U.S. Census Bureau to calculate their estimates.

Worth noting: A different study published Wednesday in the medical journal, The BMJ, said that COVID took a much greater toll on U.S. life expectancy compared to other high-income nations.

Go deeper

U.S. Latinos earn less, die earlier in segregated areas

A rally in rally in Brooklyn, N.Y., protesting Latino segregation in October 2015. Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

U.S. Latinos have a higher life expectancy and earn more yearly income when they live in racially mixed neighborhoods compared to areas that are predominantly Black or Latino, an analysis finds.

Why it matters: The study by the University of California Berkeley’s Othering and Belonging Institute released this week shows the physical and economic toll on Latinos as cities become more segregated.

Jun 24, 2021 - Health

With kids and long COVID, there are more questions than answers

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Children, like adults, are at risk of developing "long COVID." But experts are still struggling to understand what, exactly, that risk level is.

Why it matters: As the work to determine how common certain coronavirus vaccine side effects are in children, it's important to balance these risks against the risk of children remaining unvaccinated — which includes their risk of long-term health issues if they get infected.

Jun 24, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Border Democrats want migrants vaccinated

Rep. Filemon Vela (D-Tex.) Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Some Democrats representing border districts want President Biden to vaccinate migrants crossing into the U.S. — especially if he lifts public health restrictions that have prevented them from claiming asylum on American soil.

Why it matters: Inoculating migrants treads a fine line of protecting the U.S. population while possibly incentivizing more migration with the offer of free COVID-19 vaccines. Republicans are likely to pounce on that.