Reduction in life expectancy in Brazil after COVID-19

Marcia C. Castro, Susie Gurzenda, Cassio M. Turra, Sun Kim, Theresa Andrasfay, Noreen Goldman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

68 Scopus citations


Brazil has been heavily affected by coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). In this study, we used data on reported total deaths in 2020 and in January–April 2021 to measure and compare the death toll across states. We estimate a decline in 2020 life expectancy at birth (e0) of 1.3 years, a mortality level not seen since 2014. The reduction in life expectancy at age 65 (e65) in 2020 was 0.9 years, setting Brazil back to 2012 levels. The decline was larger for males, widening by 9.1% the female–male gap in e0. Among states, Amazonas lost 60.4% of the improvements in e0 since 2000. In the first 4 months of 2021, COVID-19 deaths represented 107% of the total 2020 figures. Assuming that death rates would have been equal to 2019 all-cause rates in the absence of COVID-19, COVID-19 deaths in 2021 have already reduced e0 in 2021 by 1.8 years, which is slightly larger than the reduction estimated for 2020 under similar assumptions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1629-1635
Number of pages7
JournalNature Medicine
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology


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