Stats confirm a large fall in life expectancy and wider inequalities due to COVID-19 Institute of Health Equity

For immediate release

1 April 2021

All media enquiries: Felicity Porritt

Email: f.porritt@ucl.ac.uk Tel: 07739 419219

Stats confirm a large fall in life expectancy and wider inequalities due to COVID-19

Provisional figures released by Public Health England confirm that life expectancy fell by more than one and a half years in the first half of 2020 and health inequities increased as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the UCL Institute of Health Equity Marmot Review 10 Years On we documented widening inequalities in  life expectancy prior to 2020, with a fall in life expectancy for the poorest 10% of women outside London. New analyses, comparing January to June 2020 with the equivalent period in 2019, reveal that life expectancy fell across all deprivation groups, but it fell more in the most deprived areas, increasing the health gap (health inequities).

The shockingly high number of excess deaths, alongside the poor state in which the country went into the pandemic, has caused life expectancy to fall by 1.7 years for men and 1.5 years for women in the first half of 2020.

Commenting Professor Sir Michael Marmot, Director, UCL Institute of Health Equity said:

‘This is a simply dreadful picture of the poor state of health of our nation. We note a similarly adverse picture in the USA, where life expectancy fell by more than a year, with greater falls in Black and Hispanic people. Stalling life expectancy and increases in health inequality, both before the pandemic and during it, are not inevitable. The IHE laid out clearly what to do twice last year in our 10 Years On review and our COVID-19 Build Back Fairer report. Our country urgently needs a national inequalities strategy, led by the Prime Minister, to ensure we Build Back Fairer  as we start to recover from the Pandemic.”