Over 20 million life years lost to COVID-19


  • Dawn O'Shea
  • Univadis Medical News
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Over 20.5 million years of life may have been lost due to COVID-19 globally, with an average of 16 years lost per death, according to a study published in Scientific Reports.

Researchers calculated years of life lost (YLL) across 81 countries due to COVID-19 attributable deaths, and also conduct an analysis based on estimated excess deaths.

They found that 20,507,518 years of life have been lost to COVID-19 in studied countries, with 1,279,866 deaths from the disease. The average years of life lost per death was 16 years.

Approximately 44.9 per cent of deaths occurred in individuals aged 55-75 years, 30.2 per cent in 75. YLL was 44 per cent higher in men than women.

Compared with other global common causes of death, YLL associated with COVID-19 is two to nine times greater than YLL associated with seasonal flu and almost half as much as the YLL attributable to heart conditions.

However, the authors encourage context-based interpretation of the results, especially for evaluating the effectiveness of COVID-19 oriented policies. The results provide a snapshot of the possible impacts of COVID-19 on YLL as of 6 January, 2021.