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An embalmer and funeral director at East County Mortuary unwraps a new casket to be used for the body of a person who died after contracting COVID-19 in El Cajon, California, in January. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Life expectancy in the U.S. fell by a full year in the first half of 2020, CDC data published Thursday shows.

Why it matters: The decline from 78.8 years in 2019 to 77.8 years for January through June 2020 marks the biggest fall in longevity since World War II, underscoring the impact of COVID-19 on the U.S. The drop is even larger for Black and Hispanic Americans, who've been disproportionately affected by the pandemic.

By the numbers: Over 490,000 people have died from the coronavirus in the U.S. since the pandemic began, according to Johns Hopkins data.

  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics report found that in the first six months of 2020, life expectancy for non-Hispanic Black people fell by 2.7 years, from 74.7 to 72.
  • For Hispanic people there was a fall of 1.9 years, from 81.8 to 79.9. For non-Hispanic white people, there was a drop of 0.8 years, from 78.8 to 78.

Of note: The period the CDC measured came as deaths from COVID-19 began to surge.

  • Health scientist Elizabeth Arias, a co-author of the CDC report, told the Wall Street Journal it's "very concerning when we see mortality increase to such a degree."
  • "It gives you a clear picture of the magnitude of the effect of the COVID pandemic," she added.

Read the report, via DocumentCloud:

Go deeper: How the winter surge changed COVID disparities

Go deeper

How COVID transformed the world of malware

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The COVID-19 pandemic transformed the world — and the afflictions of malware evolved with it, writes the security company Malwarebytes in its 2021 State of Malware report.

Why it matters: “The story of malware in 2020 … is a story of how the tools and tactics of cybercrime and cybersecurity changed against a backdrop of enormous changes to ordinary life,” says the report.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
Feb 17, 2021 - Health

Health security to play big role in returning workforces

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Companies are focusing on health security for returning workforces.

Why it matters: It's becoming clear that the novel coronavirus will be with us in some form for months or even years, which means companies need to invest in tools that can manage the biological safety of their workplaces.

How countries amplify COVID disinformation

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

China, Russia and Iran — drawing on one another’s online disinformation — amplified false theories that the COVID-19 virus originated in a U.S. bioweapons lab or was designed by Washington to weaken their countries, according to a nine-month investigation by AP and the Atlantic Council’s DFRLab.

Why it matters: Through a series of overlapping, if slapdash, efforts, America's global adversaries benefited from mutually reinforcing counter-narratives propagated online that aimed to falsely place responsibility for the pandemic on the U.S. and often to sow doubt on its actual origin within China.