Italy's life expectancy drops 1.2 years over COVID

Life expectancy at birth last year stood at 82 years, compared to 83.2 years in 2019, the Istat national statistics office said in a new release.

FILE: A member of the medical staff wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) arrives in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) for the COVID-19 cases, in the San Filippo Neri Hospital in Rome, on 29 October 2020. Picture: AFP

ROME - Coronavirus cut average life expectancy in Italy by 1.2 years in 2020, and by more than four years in parts of the country hit hard by the pandemic, official statistics showed Monday.

Life expectancy at birth last year stood at 82 years, compared to 83.2 years in 2019, the Istat national statistics office said in a new release.

"In 2020, the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting sharp increase in mortality abruptly interrupted the growth in life expectancy at birth that had characterised the trend until 2019," it said in a statement.

The drop was even steeper in some regions such as the northern provinces of Bergamo and Cremona, the epicentre of the COVID-19 outbreak in early 2020.

Men lost on average 4.3 and 4.5 years while women lost 3.2 years and 2.9 years in these areas.

More than 129,500 people with coronavirus have died in Italy, the majority in the northern regions where 36% of Italians live.

Italy was the first European country to face a major outbreak of Covid-19 and for a time the region of Lombardy, the nation's economic heart, became the epicentre of the global pandemic.

The government has since rolled out a vaccination programme that, as of Monday evening, had seen almost 72% of the population over 12 fully jabbed.

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