The first big improvement in the U.S. was in child mortality in the early 20th century — public health measures helped all ages, but the youngest the most. Then antibiotics and more and more vaccines improved mortality across the board, with children and young adults getting the most benefits. Improved auto safety and more stringent drunk driving laws helped all ages, but young adults the most (because they were the most idiotic drivers). We’ve seen improvements in middle age into old age due to reduced smoking and improved medical treatments — people who used to get their first heart attack in their 50s now see their first heart attack in their 70s… and it’s a lot less fatal now. And we’ve had amazing improvement in mortality at older ages.
It is very tempting to write a book about all the mortality trends we’ve got going on. The CDC has the data. They’ve issued reports on it. But few people really want to think about death. I’ll add it to my ever-expanding list of project ideas… (hey, Actuarial News was an idea for me for over a year… and now it’s here!)
Results During 2001 to 2015, 22 million deaths (8 million women and 14 million men) occurred among individuals aged 20 to 64 years in the selected populations. Among women, US Latina individuals had the lowest premature mortality rates (ASMR for 2015, 144 deaths per 100 000 population) and US African American women had the highest premature mortality rate (ASMR for 2015, 340 deaths per 100 000 population) of the 16 populations studied. Rates among US white women shifted from the sixth lowest in 2001 (ASMR, 231 deaths per 100 000 population) to the 12th lowest in 2015 (ASMR, 235 deaths per 100 000 population). Among men, Peru had the lowest premature mortality rates (ASMR for 2015, 219 deaths per 100 000 population), and Belize had the highest premature mortality rates (ASMR for 2015, 702 deaths per 100 000 population). White men in the United States shifted from the fifth lowest rates in 2001 (ASMR, 396 deaths per 100 000 population) to the eighth lowest rates in 2015 (ASMR, 394 deaths per 100 000 population). Rates for both women and men decreased in all the populations studied from 2001 to 2015 (average annual percentage change range, 0.4% to 3.8% per year) except among US white populations, for which the rate plateaued (average annual percentage change, 0.02% per year [95% CI, −0.3% to 0.2% per year] for women; −0.2% per year [95% CI, −0.4% to 0.0% per year] for men) and among Nicaraguan men, for whom the rates increased (0.6% per year [95% CI, 0.2% to 1.0% per year]). The populations with the lowest mortality rates in 2015 had lower rates from all major causes, but rates were particularly lower for heart disease (21 deaths per 100 000 population) and cancer (50 deaths per 100 000 population).
Author(s): Yingxi Chen, MD, PhD; Neal D. Freedman, PhD; Erik J. Rodriquez, PhD; et al
LATIN AMERICANS ARE less likely to die prematurely than non-Hispanic whites in the U.S. – whether they live in the country or not, a new study suggests.
Researchers have long theorized that a longer life expectancy among Latinos in the U.S. – despite often facing socioeconomic disadvantages – could be driven in part by a “healthy immigrant effect,” meaning healthier people may be more likely to immigrate to the U.S. than those in poorer health. But the new study, published Wednesday in JAMA Network Open, suggests “there may be a broader Latin American paradox” that extends far beyond U.S. borders.
The supply to poorer countries is low mostly because the majority of the available vaccines have been purchased or promised to richer countries in North America and Europe. To address this vaccine inequity, a coalition of international organizations, including the World Health Organization and governments, created a nonprofit called Covax in April 2020.
The idea was to create a global supply of vaccines for 92 low- and middle-income countries. In December, the nonprofit announced that it had secured access to some 2 billion doses for 2021 through donations and commitments from some manufacturers, but it is unclear how many of those will actually be delivered this year. The problem becomes more complicated because many countries are both working through Covax and trying to secure deals with drug makers themselves—making it more challenging for Covax to make deals with those manufacturers at the same time.
The group aims to vaccinate about 20% of the people in the world, focusing on hard-to-reach populations in Africa, Latin America, and Asia. To do so, it needs another $4.9 billion in addition to the $2.1 billion it has already raised. But there are other problems. The cheaper and easier-to-transport vaccines like the ones pledged by AstraZeneca have been slower to gain regulatory approval. Meanwhile, other companies seem less interested in pitching in: Doctors Without Borders found that only 2% of Pfizer’s global supply had been granted to Covax, and Moderna is still “in talks” with the organization.