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Study Shows COVID-19 Slashed Russia's Life Expectancy By Over Two Years

A woman undergoes COVID-19 testing at a "coronavirus express test point" in a subway station in Moscow on November 3.
A woman undergoes COVID-19 testing at a "coronavirus express test point" in a subway station in Moscow on November 3.

Researchers say life expectancy in Russia fell by more than two years in 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Out of 37 upper-middle and high-income countries studied, the highest drop in life expectancy was observed in Russia, research published in the British Medical Association's BMJ journal shows.

Life expectancy for Russian men fell 2.33 years, while the figure for women dropped by 2.14 years, the study said.

In terms of falling life expectancy, Russia was followed closely by the United States, where men lost 2.27 years and women 1.61 years. In third place is Bulgaria, with life expectancy falling 1.96 years for men and 1.37 years for women.

The Russian figures in the study represent a significant fall in life expectancy compared to data from state statistics agency Rosstat published earlier this year.

Rosstat said in July that life expectancy in 2020 fell by 1.8 years to 71.54 years in 2020.

Rosstat said last month that around 462,000 people in Russia had died from COVID-19 since the pandemic began, the highest toll in Europe.

Overall COVID-19 fatalities reported by Rosstat compares to the figure of around 236,000 published by the Russian coronavirus task force.

Critics accuse Russian authorities of downplaying the death toll from the pandemic.

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The discrepancy can be explained by task force figures taking into account deaths where the virus was established as the primary cause of death after a medical examination.

Rosstat publishes figures under a wider definition for deaths linked to the virus.

To more accurately measure the impact of the pandemic, some epidemiologists argue calculating excess mortality.

Reuters has calculated that the number of excess deaths in Russia between April 2020 and September 2021 was more than 632,000 in comparison with the average mortality rate in 2015-19.

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