kanga wrote:.. and some effects on EU life expectancy figures:
"The Covid pandemic has affected life expectancy in Europe, according to latest data across the EU released by its statistics agency Eurostat.
It says, on average, life expectancy at birth has been rising by more than two years per decade since the 1960s. But while many countries have seen that rise slow down in recent years, the decline in 2020 in some EU member states from 2019 is quite marked:
Belgium's life expectancy fell from 82.1 years to 80.9
Bulgaria's fell from 75.1 to 73.6 years
Spain, with life expectancy among Europe's highest, fell from 84 to 82.4 years
Italy's was down from 83.6 to 82.4
In Lithuania, Poland and Romania life expectancy from birth was down by 1.4 years
The Netherlands, France and Austria saw a decline of 0.7 years "
Figures of "life expectancy" are tricky to deal with at the best of times since they can mean so many different things. We learned in school how the average age people reached in the olden days was 30 or 40 years and we (wrongly) imagine that 50-year-olds were almost non-existent, but that was taking the infant mortality rate into consideration: anyone who made it to five years would probably be way older that 40.
In this case, the quote in the quote explicitly says "life expectancy at birth". Given the fact that most deaths due to Covid are among the elderly, how can the current pandemic have such an effect on the expected life of children who are born in 2021? If "life expectancy at birth" in a country was 80 years and 1% of newborns would die from the pandemic in their first year, that would bring down the figure to 79.2 years, but that's not what's happening. A massive epidemic of malaria, cholera or the like could have that effect, but not Covid-19. When today's newborn are most vulnerable to this particular disease, the 2020/2021 pandemic will be something their grandchildren read about in history books. (Assuming there still are "books" in the last years of the 21st century.)
So either the figures are meaningless or, more likely, they refer to something else than what the phrase "life expectancy at birth" leads the layman reader to believe. Is it a phrase that's well-defined within a (small) scientific community? If so, it either should be explained in public communication or replaced with something the reader can be expected to understand.
Anyone on this forum who knows the answer?
Autocorrect is so frustrating. It's always making me say things I didn't Nintendo.