Last week revealed another grim toll from the pandemic. Life expectancy for men fell 1.2 years. That's by far the biggest drop in the post war era. But it is also a reminder how far technology and wealth have taken us. According to data from the Social Security Administration, in 1918 life expectancy fell 6.84 years. Advances in medicine and technology (for instance that so many could work from home) likely saved many lives last year. Another reason is the 1918 pandemic mostly killed people under 30, while COVID-19 mostly targeted older people. Also in 1918, fewer people made it to old age--life expectancy at birth was only 45 years old.
And there's a reason for some optimism, in 1919 life expectancy increased 8.85 years--the largest increase in Social Security data's history.
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