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U.S. life expectancy dropped by more than a year during the first half of 2020

Life expectancy declines in the first six months of 2020 further highlighted the racial disparities of the pandemic's impact.

Life expectancy in the U.S. fell by more than a year during the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a recent report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

U.S. life expectancy – defined as how many years a baby born at the given time would be expected to live on average – fell from 78.8 in 2019 to 77.8 in the first six months of 2020. That kind of a drop hasn’t been seen since World War II, according to the Associated Press.

The decline in life expectancy was even greater for Hispanic Americans and Black Americans. According to the CDC, these communities are at greater risk of contracting and dying from COVID-19 due to factors including discrimination, income disparities and lack of access to adequate healthcare.

People of color are also more likely to work frontline jobs including at healthcare facilities, farms and grocery stores, the CDC notes.

Life expectancy for Hispanic Americans fell from 81.8 to 79.9, while life expectancy for Black Americans fell from 74.7 to 72. By compassion, the life expectancy for non-Hispanic white Americans fell from 78.8 to 78.

The report also found that the life expectancy gap between white Americans and Black Americans in the first half of 2020 was the largest since 1998.

Last year was the deadliest year in U.S. history, with deaths topping 3 million for the first time, according to NBC News

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