Virus has cost Americans more than 2.5 million years of potential life, Harvard study finds.

There have been more than 220,000 coronavirus deaths in the United States, and each one represents years of potential life lost.

They are years that might otherwise have been filled with moments rich and mundane: Time spent with family and friends. Trips to the grocery store. Late-night conversations on the phone. Tearful firsts with a newborn baby.

Staggering as the 220,000 number is, it may not fully capture the true toll of the pandemic, according to a recent analysis.

Tabulating the ages of Americans known to have died of Covid-19, and tallying the number of years they might have lived had they reached a typical life expectancy, the report concluded that the virus had claimed more than 2.5 million years of potential life in the United States.

"Think of everything that a person does in a year," said the author of the report, Stephen Elledge, a geneticist at Harvard. "Who among us would not give anything to have one more year with a parent, a spouse, a son or daughter, a close friend?"

The report, which has not yet been published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal, comes as 37 states continue to see sustained increases in new infections, according to a New York Times database. Twelve have been roughly flat over the past couple of weeks. Only Hawaii is seeing consistent declines. On Wednesday, at least four states broke their single-day records for new cases reported.

Just last week, scientists published a high-profile and discredited declaration arguing that businesses and schools should be quickly opened and that people "who are not vulnerable" to the virus — presumably the young and healthy — should return to "life as normal" while older Americans remain cloistered from the coronavirus.

Dr. Elledge's analysis found that nearly half of the years lost were taken from people younger than 65.

"These are everyday people who are dying," said Dr. Utibe Essien, a physician and health equity researcher at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine who was not involved in the analysis. "They're losing time with their kids, their grandkids, their opportunities to build their futures." Dr. Essien was one of several experts who reviewed the study at the request of The New York Times.

Katherine J. Wu

New York Times, October 22, 2020


October 22, 2020

Voices4America Post Script. The Coronavirus has cost Americans more than 2.5 million years of potential life. This is almost too sad to contemplate, lives cut short -how much living each person had left -even if we just use average life spans. Many died because of #TrumpIncompetence, rejection of science and focus on his own re-election. #NeverForget #VoteBlue #BidenHarris2020

12 days left.

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