NEW YORK (PIX11) — A new report on Friday shows just how devastating the COVID-19 pandemic was on the health of New Yorkers.
Life expectancy in the city dropped by more than four and a half years, with the worst impacts felt in communities of color.
The City Health Department reports that between 2019 and 2020, the life expectancy of all New Yorkers fell to 78 years old, down 4.6 years.
Specifically, life expectancy in the African American community dropped to 73, down 5.5 years. In the Latino community, it dropped six years to around 77 years old.
“It’s a staggering loss of life we’re looking at,” said Dr. Marc Gourevitch, Chair of Population Health at NYU Langone.
Gourevitch said from vaccine equity and combatting misinformation to addressing big structural barriers like income and educational inequality, the city report only underscores the need to focus on these issues.
“A moment like this and a pandemic like this brings into sharp relief just how fundamentally important it is,” he said.
The report from the city health department found overdose deaths also rose significantly from 2019 to 2020, up by 42.2%.
Gourevitch said the overdose crisis might hold back a life expectancy bounce back he anticipates with the pandemic waning.