Like most of you these days, I’m sure, I’m really looking forward to getting back to normal life. It’s so good to be able to see the people I’ve been missing, and now that I’ve gotten my COVID vaccine, I’m feeling so much better about venturing out in public.
But I also heard a kind of depressing story on the radio this morning that brings home the toll the pandemic has taken. In a very short time, life expectancy for Americans has fallen by two years.
According to a report on National Public Radio, in 2018 people in the U.S. could expect to live on average about 79 years — but by the end of 2020, this had declined to about 77 years — and it’s worse for the Black and LatinX communities. The author of the study says this is the biggest decrease in life expectancy since Word War II.
And of course the disease can cause lifelong effects even when it doesn’t kill, including lasting damage to people’s vision.
So I’m kind of worried about the people around me who are still hesitant to get the vaccine — particularly since the advent of this new Delta Plus strain, which is spread so much more easily. Health officials say it’s here in the U.S., and are now predicting another flare-up since there are still so many folks who aren’t protected by vaccination.
I’m just hoping more people will change their minds in time to head it off. I don’t want to lose any more friends.