An analysis of all the people who died of documented COVID-19 in the U.S. estimates that more than 138,000 years of potential human life have been lost before age 65. The analysis also found a wide disparity in years of life lost between white Americans and people of color.
The research was conducted by three experts from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health: Mary Bassett, director of the François-Xavier Bagnoud Center for Health and Human Rights at Harvard University; research scientist Jarvis Chen; and Nancy Krieger, professor of social epidemiology. Their working paper was the subject of a June 23, 2020 article in Vox.
The researchers calculated the number of years remaining before age 65 for each of those who died of COVID-19. Choosing 65 as the cutoff was designed to shine a spotlight on the number of young people dying of COVID-19, according to the article.
Even though white people in the U.S. greatly outnumber Black people and Hispanics, the burden of years of potential life lost was higher among the latter two groups, the analysis found. Black Americans lost, collectively, 45,777 years of life, Hispanics and Latinos lost 48,204, and white Americans lost 33,446.
“You think about people being the dynamic beings that we are, living across space and time,” Krieger said. “And then you have lives that are just pulled out of the picture.”
Read the Vox article: The US badly needs a wake-up call on the coronavirus pandemic