WHO: COVID-19 reversed life expectancy targets

WHO: COVID-19 reversed life expectancy targets

By: - Reporter / @dexcabalzaINQ
/ 05:25 AM May 27, 2024

WHO: COVID-19 reversed life expectancy targets

Inquirer photo/Grig C. Montegrande

MANILA, Philippines — The COVID-19 pandemic wiped out in just two years the progress made over 10 years to improve life expectancy, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

Based on the 2024 World Health Statistics released on Friday, global life expectancy at birth dropped by 0.7 to 72.5 years in 2020 (back to 2016 level). In 2021, it dipped even further by 1.1 to 71.4 years (2012 level).


This means that a person born in 2021 now has a shorter lifespan of 71 years compared with someone born in 2019, who is expected to live for 73 years.


READ: Average life expectancy of Filipinos is 71, says World Bank

According to data from the World Bank, Filipinos had an average life expectancy of 71.865 years in 2019, a year before the pandemic. By 2021, it was down to 69.266 years, shorter than the 1999 life expectancy level of 69.298 years.

New pandemic pact

In a statement, WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus noted the continuous major progress in global health, with billions of people enjoying better health, better access to services and better protection from health emergencies.

“But we must remember how fragile progress can be. In just two years, the COVID-19 pandemic erased a decade of gains in life expectancy. That’s why the new Pandemic Agreement is so important: not only to strengthen global health security but to protect long-term investments in health and promote equity within and between countries,” he added.

The WHO official was referring to a treaty on how best to handle the next pandemic, with the final draft to be presented during the 77th World Health Assembly, the annual meeting of health ministers worldwide in Geneva, Switzerland, from May 27 to June 1.

As of December 2023, more than 4 million Filipinos have contracted COVID-19 since 2020, with 66,779 deaths.


The Department of Health (DOH) is currently monitoring the new “FLiRT” variants, which are causing a spike in cases worldwide, including in Singapore.

But as of Saturday, it could neither confirm nor deny if the latest variants were already in the country.

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