Life expectancy for American men fell 2.2 years since the beginning of the pandemic, a new study published Monday by London’s Oxford University reported.
The drop was the biggest since World War II and offset recent gains over the last five years, Reuters reported about the study.
The study said that the COVID-19 pandemic was largely responsible for the decrease in life expectancy, even though the drop for U.S. men was largely among workers and those under 60.
Other countries around the world also saw decreases in life expectancy, but they were mostly among those older than 60 who had died from the virus.
Not just the US
Out of 29 countries surveyed, 22 saw drops of six months or more in life expectancy because of the pandemic.
The drop for U.S. men was the largest in the study, however. Women also saw decreases that were smaller than those for men.
More than 4.7 million deaths have been attributed to COVID-19 worldwide, although numbers in some countries are suspected to be artificially small due to reporting problems. In the U.S., around 689,000 people have died from COVID-19, according to Johns Hopkins.
The pandemic has hit the elderly and those with certain pre-existing health conditions hardest. Very few people under age 40 have died from the virus in the U.S., and most of them had serious underlying health conditions.
Unvaccinated at highest risk
Most of the deaths now occurring from the virus are in those who have not been vaccinated against the disease. NPR reported that the unvaccinated are 11 times more likely to die from infection than the vaccinated, among all age groups.
Aside from rare side effects causing myocarditis in a few young men who take mRNA vaccines, the incidence of reported side effects from vaccines has been low.
Still, the delta variant has brought more breakthrough cases among the vaccinated, causing concern among some who had begun to return to normal life activities.
The number of new COVID-19 cases has begun to decrease in the U.S. in recent weeks, signaling that the delta variant may be beginning to decline here as some hospitals have reached capacity with the variant strain.