The Covid-19 virus has caused devastation across the globe. Killing hundreds of thousands of people so far, it is the worst global disaster in over a century.
Prior to the disaster, the WHO summarised key factors which were changing life expectancy. The question now is, how are these statistics likely to change in light of the coronavirus pandemic?
What were previous predictions?
The latest World Health statistics showed some interesting facts relating to life expectancy. For the first time, the 2019 statistics showed that sex played a part in life expectancy.
Women have long been known to outlive men. However, the statistics revealed that men were particularly more likely to die from treatable and preventable diseases than women. They were also shown to be more likely to die from a road accident.
Wealth also plays a part in life expectancy. The statistics show a drastic 18.1-year life expectancy gap between the richest and the poorest countries. Women who can access health services also see an increase in life expectancy.
In total, the global life expectancy has increased from 2000 to 2016. It has risen by 5.5 years, taking the average lifespan to 72 years.
The coronavirus has killed over 200,000 people worldwide so far. According to new research, it has decreased the life expectancy of men by 13 years. Women, meanwhile, have seen a reduction of 11 years off their lifespan.
While the virus is largely impacting older people, it has killed men, women and children of all ages. Even those with underlying health conditions who have died from the virus, would have gone on to live for many more years. So, there is no getting away from the fact that it has reduced life expectancy.
With no cure or treatment yet available, the virus will continue to threaten life expectancy until one is found.
The impact on health services
The impact Covid-19 has had on health services is unprecedented. Hospitals have been inundated with patients. To deal with the hundreds of people dying in hospitals each day, additional health workers have been drafted in. These include retired doctors and nurses, alongside medical students.
As very little is known and understood about the virus, it has led to medical staff having to make crucial decisions regarding care. Naturally, this increases the risk of something going wrong. The NHS is expecting a surge in clinical negligence claims. As a result, NHS Resolution has set up a clinical negligence scheme.
Life expectancy has up until this point, shown an increase across the world. However, the coronavirus has already managed to reduce the life expectancy of hundreds of thousands of people. Unless it is contained, the WHO may need to adjust their most recent figures.