Coronavirus may have led to loss of over 20.5 million years of life worldwide: Study

Prashasti Awasthi Mumbai | Updated on February 21, 2021

File photo   -  AFP

A new study carried out by a group of researchers from several international universities and research centers revealed that the mortality impact of the novel coronavirus is humongous.

"Our results confirm that the mortality impact of covid-19 is large, not only in terms of numbers of deaths but also in terms of years of life lost,” the authors wrote.

The researchers from several international universities, including researchers at the Centre for Research in Health and Economics (CRES-UPF), have estimated the premature mortality impact of Covid-19.

It has done so by calculating years of life lost (YLL) due to coronavirus compared to YLL for other common illnesses, such as the flu or cardiovascular diseases.

The research, published recently in the journal Scientific Reports (Nature Research).


The years of life lost rate is the difference between an individual's age at death and their life expectancy.

The researchers estimated YLL caused by coronavirus using data on more than 1,279,866 deaths in 81 countries. They also analysed data on life expectancy and made projections of total deaths from Covid-19 by country.


The authors estimated that a total of 20,507,518 years of life have been lost due to coronavirus in the 81 countries included in this study, with an average of sixteen years per individual death.

Of the total YLL, 44.9 per cent occurred in individuals between 55 and 75 years of age, 30.2 per cent among people under 55, and 25 per cent in the over 75s.

In the countries for which records of the number of deaths by sex were available, YLL was 44 per cent higher in men than in women.

The life years lost rate due to the pandemic has been between two and nine times greater than the mean YLL rate associated with seasonal flu.

However, the authors also suggested that "estimates of years of life lost may be underestimated, due to the difficulty of accurately recording.

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Published on February 21, 2021
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