Life expectancy may be reduced by 2 to 7 yrs in Southeast Asia due to COVID-19 pandemic, claims study

A recent study, published in the journal PLOS on 17 September, 2020, showed that if COVID-19 continues to spread, there would be a decrease in the life expectancy of people, especially in regions which have been affected severely by the infection.

Myupchar September 22, 2020 00:47:15 IST
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Life expectancy may be reduced by 2 to 7 yrs in Southeast Asia due to COVID-19 pandemic, claims study

Representational image. AFP

More than 31 million cases of COVID-19 have been reported across the world, out of which India accounts for 5.4 million cases. Even after meticulous planning and taking many preventive measures, the number of new cases has been increasing continuously. This is not only affecting the current health status of the entire population but can also affect their life expectancy.

A recent study, published in the journal PLOS on 17 September, 2020, showed that if COVID-19 continues to spread, there would be a decrease in the life expectancy of people, especially in regions which have been affected severely by the infection.

Life expectancy and COVID-19 disease

The novel coronavirus has expressed itself through a spectrum of symptoms in patients. While most people either do not present with any symptoms or show mild symptoms of the disease, others may present with mild to critical pneumonia, shortness of breath and respiratory failure. As the number of COVID-19 cases rise, the mortality (death) rate is increasing simultaneously.

As per the scientists from the Asian Demographic Research Institute, regions with a high mortality rate due to COVID-19 may present with a decline in their life expectancy rate.

Life expectancy is the way to measure the number of years that an average person is expected to live. There are various factors such as healthcare facilities, socioeconomic status and education facilities that are factored in while calculating life expectancy.

In order to prove their point, the scientists built a model which resembled the life of individuals, who were monitored every week for almost a year (52 weeks). In that model, the scientists studied the age-specific prevalence rate of COVID-19 infection and also the probabilities of dying from the infection. The scientists further examined the length of illness of the disease, which is expected to be 2 weeks.

The study was conducted in four different regions based on their life expectancy rates:

1. Very high life expectancy (North America and Europe)

2. High life expectancy (Latin America and the Caribbean)

3. Medium life expectancy (Southeastern Asia)

4. Low life expectancy (Sub-Saharan Africa)

Result of the study

The scientists found that life expectancy would suffer even at the regions which present with a mere two percent prevalence of COVID-19 infection.

It was seen that regions that presented with 10 percent prevalence, showed a loss of more than 1 year in their life expectancy rates. Similarly, the ones with 50 percent prevalence of infection would show a loss of 3 to 9 years in the regions with high life-expectancy regions, 2 to 7 years in the regions with medium life-expectancy regions, and 1 to 4 years in the regions with low life-expectancy regions.

It was concluded that if the spread of COVID-19 infection and the number of deaths are not contained, the life expectancy would drop significantly, especially in the places where the life expectancy is already low.

For more information, read our article on Causes of death in COVID-19 patients.

Health articles in Firstpost are written by myUpchar.com, India’s first and biggest resource for verified medical information. At myUpchar, researchers and journalists work with doctors to bring you information on all things health.

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