ROME (Reuters) – Life expectancy in Italy fell by almost a year in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, national statistics agency ISTAT said on Wednesday.
Nationwide, life expectancy at birth was 82.3 years in 2020, down from 83.2 in 2019, with the figure falling more than 1-1/2 years in the north of the country which bore the brunt of the disease.
“COVID completely wiped out life-expectancy gains made over the past decade in the north and partially wiped them out in other areas of the country,” ISTAT said in an annual report on the nation’s well being.
“This retreat is not yet finished and will take time to recoup,” it added.
Italy registered more deaths in 2020 than in any other year since World War Two, ISTAT said last week, suggesting the novel coronavirus might have killed more people than officially reported.
Total deaths in Italy last year amounted to 746,146, an increase of 100,525, or 15.6%, compared with the average of the 2015-2019 period. Deaths attributed to COVID-19 in 2020 accounted for some 70% of this total excess mortality.
(Reporting by Crispian Balmer; Editing by Bernadette Baum)