A new global study shows that the COVID-19 pandemic shortened life expectancy around the world last year.
A team of researchers led by University of Oxford public health professor Nazur Islam examined changes to life expectancy in 37 upper-middle- and high-income countries, using the years between 2005 and 2019 as a benchmark, and compared the ages of the deceased to their life expectancies.
The study, which was published this week in the scientific journal BMJ, found that Russia had the highest drop in life expectancy, where men lost 2.33 years and women 2.14 years.
In second place was the United States, with men losing 2.27 years and women 1.61 years, followed by Bulgaria with men losing 1.96 years and women 1.37 years.
According to the researchers, a total of 31 nations experienced a decline in life expectancy, losing about 28 million additional years of life.
Six nations, Denmark, Iceland, New Zealand, Norway, South Korea and Taiwan were the only countries of those studied where life expectancy either increased or remained the same.
However, the researchers say most countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America were not included in the study due to a lack of data, meaning the true toll from the pandemic was likely even higher.
The pandemic has claimed more than five million lives since the first cases were detected in central China in late 2019, with the United States the world leader in COVID-19 deaths at 750,430 cases according to Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.
In Africa, as of November 3, reported deaths reached 218,545, with South Africa being the most affected, reporting 89,197 people dead.
In Kenya, the cumulative fatalities have risen to 5,296 after 14 patients succumbed to the virus from the latest reports by the Ministry of Health.