The life expectancy of American men decreased by two years during the pandemic, according to a new study published Monday by Oxford University.
The study found that life expectancy among men fell by 2.2 years relative to 2019, the largest drop among the groups that were observed, according to Reuters.
Life expectancy decreased by more than six months compared to 2019 for 22 of the 29 countries examined as part of the study, according to Reuters, which includes the U.S., Chile and nations in Europe.
The drop in life expectancy in 2020 was the largest observed since World War II, and fell overall in 27 of the 29 countries analyzed, according to Reuters.
The university said the majority of the life expectancy decreases can be attributed to COVID-19, which has caused more than 4.7 million deaths since the onset of the pandemic, according to the World Health Organization.
“The fact that our results highlight such a large impact that is directly attributable to COVID-19 shows how devastating a shock it has been for many countries,” said Dr. Ridhi Kashyap, co-lead author of the paper, according to Reuters.
In most countries examined, the decrease in life expectancy was larger for men than women. The statistic fell by more than a year for men in 15 countries, with women seeing the same drop in 11 countries.
The decreases amid the pandemic scaled back progress on mortality that had been made in the past 5.6 years, Reuters reported.
The increase in mortality in the U.S. was mainly among working-aged individuals and those under 60 years old, according to the news wire. In Europe, however, people older than 60 years old largely contributed to the increase in mortality.
The Oxford study bolsters conclusions made by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in July, which announced that U.S. life expectancy had fallen by 1.5 years in 2020.
The CDC said that the drop in life expectancy — from 78.8 years in 2019 to 77.3 years in 2020 — was largely driven by COVID-19.