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European life expectancies in times of Covid. A long term story.

Summary:
Life expectancies in Europe went down in 2019 and 2020 in all countries bar Norway (figure 1). They tended to go down more in countries with a relatively low life expectancy (figure 2) – strong and outspoken tendency. Correlation is not causation. But it can be argued that health and morbidity and life expectancy are influenced by health outcomes during, especially, childhood, including in the in-utero environment (look here, especially 3.1 b and 3.1 c. Look also here). If that’s right the data suggest that an important way to mitigate the (long term) consequences of Covid-19 is to have a strong long term public health system and policy (including policies aimed at diminishing poverty). Aside of this short term health policies should, aside of Covid-vaccination, be broadened to

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Life expectancies in Europe went down in 2019 and 2020 in all countries bar Norway (figure 1). They tended to go down more in countries with a relatively low life expectancy (figure 2) – strong and outspoken tendency. Correlation is not causation. But it can be argued that health and morbidity and life expectancy are influenced by health outcomes during, especially, childhood, including in the in-utero environment (look here, especially 3.1 b and 3.1 c. Look also here). If that’s right the data suggest that an important way to mitigate the (long term) consequences of Covid-19 is to have a strong long term public health system and policy (including policies aimed at diminishing poverty).

European life expectancies in times of Covid. A long term story.

European life expectancies in times of Covid. A long term story.

Aside of this short term health policies should, aside of Covid-vaccination, be broadened to include better ventilation (good anyway), air purification and disinfection (UVC lamps) while, on a personal basis, especially old people should not be eager to attend indoor crowded events. But this does not diminish the importance of old fashioned long term public health policies aimed at the entire population of countries. 2021 data not yet available for Ireland , Montenegro, North Macedonia, Albania and Serbia. All data: Eurostat. the UK is not included as it only provides three year averages. It also states, about the development of these averages: “These estimates rely on the assumption that current levels of mortality, which are unusually high, will continue for the rest of someone’s life. Once the coronavirus pandemic has ended and its consequences for future mortality are known, it is possible that life expectancy will return to an improving trend in the future“.

Merijn T. Knibbe
Economic historian, statistician, outdoor guide (coastal mudflats), father, teacher, blogger. Likes De Kift and El Greco. Favorite epoch 1890-1930.

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