Coronavirus has cost the U.S. more than 138,000 years of potential human life, according to a Harvard University study.
Although coronavirus is particularly dangerous for older people, the infection has certainly not spared young people.
Harvard researchers calculated the number of years of life lost based on the number of people under 65 who died of COVID-19, because these young people are unlikely to die under normal circumstances this year.
And to their shock, the authors of the study found that black Americans collectively lost 45,777 years of life – 37 percent more than the loss that white Americans as a whole suffered.
Collectively, Americans have lost 138,000 years of potential life. Nearly 46,000 years of human lives are lost among black Americans, 37% more years than whites are lost despite being a smaller part of the US population (file)
More than 120,000 Americans have now died of the coronavirus.
While this number is astounding, early reports that COVID-19 was predominantly a disease of the elderly and sick have had the grim consequence of easily imagining that this incredible death toll is made up mostly of people who were nearing the end of their lives .
But a calculation of the number of lives lost speaks not only of the deaths that have occurred, but also of the lives that will not be lived as a result of the pandemic: people who will never see their graduation, or their children grow up, or their own children wedding days.
“Think about everything people do in a year. You work, have babies, get married, make memories, ”tweeted pediatrician and public health expert Dr. Rhea Boyd, in response to the newspaper.
Black and Latinx populations have lost those odds more than 45,000 times through COVID alone.
“The inequality in racial health has cost black and Latinx people immensely.”
Likewise, the Spanish and Latinx community collectively lost 48,204 years, further driving home the observation that this pandemic has hit racial minorities in the U.S. much harder than white people.
Americans who are black, Latinx, American Indian / Alaska Natives, and Asian or Pacific Islanders also die younger, the researchers found in their working paper.
In fact, the differences in lost years of life were greatest in people between the ages of 25 and 54.
The mortality rate of black Americans between the ages of 25 and 34 was 7.3 times higher than that of whites in the same age group.
For Hispanics of that age group, mortality. rat was nearly eight times higher.
In fact, mortality rates were only comparable between Caucasians and racial minorities aged 75 or older.
It underscores a well-documented and painful truth that the pandemic is taking a more drastic toll on non-white Americans.
The reasons for this are complicated and partly reflect inequalities long before the corona virus, such as the lower average income of black and Latinx people in the US and the resulting higher rates of insurance or underinsurance.
These factors, in turn, increase the likelihood that people will leave preventative or medical care when they need it, further fueling the high rate of chronic disease.
More specifically, before the coronavirus pandemic, more minority people work in service jobs that are considered ‘essential’.
This meant that more black and Latinx had to keep working and risk the risk of exposure to coronavirus rather than quarantine.
These workers – those under the age of 65 whose years of lost lives were the focus of the Harvard newspaper – are more likely to return to multi-generational households where the virus can spread at close quarters.
For black people between the ages of 34 and 44, mortality from COVID-19 was about nine times higher than for that group of whites.
“You don’t get relative risks to most things in the US for health inequalities seven to nine times,” said Dr. Nancy Krieger, a study co-author and epidemiologist at Harvard. Vox.