COVID-19 sharply drives down life expectancy in Brazil

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Life expectancy in Brazil declined by approximately 1.3 years in 2020 as a result of COVID-19, reversing decades of progress in the country, according to a new study in Nature led by Marcia Castro, Andelot Professor of Demography and chair of the Department of Global Health and Population at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

The study also estimated that the decline in life expectancy for 2021 will be about 1.78 years.

“We expect declines of this magnitude when you have a major shock that leads to high mortality, like a war or a pandemic,” Castro said in a June 29, 2021, New York Times article. The article noted that Brazil has reported more than 514,000 deaths from COVID-19 and that the pandemic has continued to worsen as vaccinations in the country lag.

“The decline in 2021 is going to be just horrible,” Castro said. “We are now losing even younger people.”