The Covid-19 pandemic has so far caused 2.8 million deaths worldwide, of which more than 610,000 have occurred in Europe, according to data from Johns Hopkins University and the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).
Some countries have reported an increase in mortality due to the coronavirus. The European Union (EU) reported in February an excess of 450,000 deaths between March and November 2020. And that high number of deaths has had a visible impact on the life expectancy data of the member states.
Life expectancy at birth has been increasing over the past decade in the EU: official statistics reveal that life expectancy has risen, on average, by more than two years per decade since the 1960s. However, the latest available data released by the European statistics agency (Eurostat) suggest that life expectancy stagnated or even declined recently in several EU Member States.
Moreover, following the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic last year, life expectancy at birth fell in the vast majority of the EU Member States with available 2020 data.
The largest decreases were recorded in Spain (-1.6 years compared with 2019) and Bulgaria (-1.5), followed by Lithuania, Poland and Romania (all -1.4).
This information comes from recently published provisional estimates on life expectancy in 2020. And it takes into account what happened during the first waves of Covid-19, which in Europe ended the lives of many elderly and sick people with previous pathologies.
Meanwhile in the North...
Meanwhile, life expectancy in Finland and other Nordic countries has increased even amid the worst pandemic in 100 years.
According to Eurostat's figures, Finland and Denmark are the only two countries in the European Union where life expectancy increased (a mere 0.1%) in 2020 compared with 2019.
Outside the EU, but without leaving the European continent, the case of Norway stands out, where the life expectancy grew by 0.3%, according to the statistical agency.
Exceptions to the improvement registered among the Nordic countries are Sweden (-0.8%) and Iceland (-0.1%).
In neighbouring Estonia, life expectancy at birth fell by 0.4% last year.