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1.C: COVID-19 Impact on Lifespan Development

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    Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are known to cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) (CDC, 2021). Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a new strain of coronavirus that had not been previously identified in humans. The COVID-19 virus spreads primarily through droplets of saliva or discharge from the nose when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

    COVID-19 has dominated the world's attention since it was first declared a public health emergency by the World Health Organization (WHO) on January 31, 2020 (AJMC Staff, 2021). Three days later on February 3, the United States also declared a public health emergency as more than 9800 cases of the virus and 200 plus deaths had been confirmed worldwide. By March 11, 2020, WHO declared COVID-19 a pandemic due to the severity of the outbreak and how quickly it was spreading. Subsequently, on March \(13^{\text{th}}\) the United States declared COVID-19 a national emergency, and billions of dollars in federal funding were released to fight the spread of the disease. California became the first state to issue a stay-at-home order on March \(19^{\text{th}}\), which mandated that all residents stay at home except to go to an essential job or shop for essential needs. Other states quickly followed, and Illinois issued the stay-at-home order on March 21, 2020. The impact of COVID-19 on lifespan development has been significant, and consequently each chapter will address important effects on the age range highlighted.

    Life Expectancy: As stated at the beginning of this chapter, life expectancy refers to the predicted number of years a person born in a particular time period can reasonably expect to live. Due to COVID's impact, the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) for the first time released provisional vital statistics data for the months January through June 2020 to determine current life expectancy (Arias et al., 2021). Mortality data included over 99% of the deaths that occurred during these 6 months. Results indicated that life expectancy at birth for the entire U.S. population declined 1.0 years from 78.8 years in 2019 to 77.8 years in 2020. For males, life expectancy was 75.1 years and declined 1.2 years from 2019, while females' life expectancy was 80.5 years and declined 0.9 years from 2019. Comparing Hispanic (1.9 years decline), non-Hispanic black (2.7 years decline), and non-Hispanic white (0.8 years decline) populations demonstrated worsening life expectancies for racial and ethnic minorities. Reasons for these gender and ethnic differences in life expectancy will be explored in subsequent chapters.

    A bar graph compares estimated provisional life expectancy from 2020, based on data from months January through June, with life expectancy from 2019. Data is sourced from the US National Center for Health Statistics. For the Hispanic population, life expectancies were 81.8 years in 2019 and 79.9 years in 2020; for the non-Hispanic white population, life expectancies were 78.8 years in 2019 and 78.0 years in 2020; for the non-Hispanic black population, life expectancies were 74.7 years in 2019 and 72.0 years in 2020.
    Figure \(\PageIndex{1}\). Changes in life expectancies due to COVID-19, based on ethnicity.

    This page titled 1.C: COVID-19 Impact on Lifespan Development is shared under a CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Martha Lally and Suzanne Valentine-French via source content that was edited to the style and standards of the LibreTexts platform; a detailed edit history is available upon request.