COVID-19 contributed to a decline in life expectancy in 2020: Statistics Canada

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An average seven-month decline in national life expectancy in 2020 was contributed by the COVID-19 pandemic the largest decrease recorded since 1921 when the vital statistics registration system was introduced, Statistics Canada reports said.

National life expectancy was 81.7 years for those born in 2020.

The federal agency released preliminary data Monday showing national life expectancy, which is estimated on an annual basis, was 81.7 years for those born in 2020 — down from 82.3 the year before.

The drop for men was greater, at more than eight months than for women, at nearly five months.

The largest declines in the country were observed in Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and British Columbia.

Of 307,205 deaths in Canada in 2020, 16,151 deaths were attributed to COVID-19 during the first year of the pandemic, representing 5.3 percent of the country’s 2020 deaths.

That made COVID-19 the third leading cause of death in Canada in 2020, though Statistics Canada added that the pandemic may have also contributed indirectly to a number of other deaths across the country.

Canada’s life expectancy fell in 2020, but it was still among the highest in the world over that year, Statistics Canada said.

Statistics Canada said life expectancy for those born in 2020 is expected to return to pre-pandemic levels as the impacts of the health crisis diminish.