Life expectancy for UK males falls first time in 40 years

An elderly man holds a walking stick as he walks along the beachfront promenade in Eastbourne, UK, on April 1, 2014. (BLOOMBERG)

The life expectancy of UK men fell for the first time on record, a sign of how the pandemic has raised mortality in the nation.

Males born between 2018 and 2020 are expected to live 79 years, according to a report from the Office for National Statistics. That’s seven weeks less than those who were born in the two years prior, and the first drop since the early 1980s when the statistics office started compiling data.

The latest expectancy for women remained little changed at 82.9 years.

The report is just the latest demonstration of the huge death toll inflicted on the U.K. by the pandemic. Over 136,000 have died with coronavirus in the country, the highest total in Europe.

ONS Statistician Pamela Cobb cautioned that the estimates assumed that the unusually high levels of current mortality would be sustained over a person’s lifetime. Once the pandemic is over “it is possible that life expectancy will return to an improving trend,” she said.

Among the UK’s constituent nations, males in England have the longest life expectancy at 79.3 years, followed by Northern Ireland and Wales. Scotland has the lowest expectancy, with men likely to live 76.8 years.

Russia

Russia reported a record 828 COVID-19 deaths in the latest day, as officials warned of a new wave of the pandemic.

The real number of deaths linked to the coronavirus is likely much higher, as the initial reports by the government’s COVID-19 task force are generally revised upward.

ALSO READ: WHO chief urges joint efforts to prevent COVID-like pandemics

Moscow’s Deputy Mayor Anastasia Rakova said this week that the capital was reopening coronavirus hospital wards as cases spiked, according to Ria Novosti.

US

The number of people dying with COVID-19 in US hospitals appears to have peaked, the latest sign of reprieve after the Delta variant fueled record spikes in infections in some states.

The seven-day average of US hospital deaths with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 is down 8.9 percent from the recent peak on Sept 16, according to US Department of Health and Human Services data. 

Meanwhile, Colorado’s attorney general announced a nurse practitioner has been fined $40,000 for marketing “alleged cures” for COVID-19, including the anti-parasite drug ivermectin. Siegfried Emme, owner of Loveland Medical Clinic, also advertised intravenous therapies, according to Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser.

Norway

Norway to remove all domestic restrictions from Sept 25, with the exception of the requirement to isolate if ill with COVID-19, Prime Minister Erna Solberg told reporters on Friday. Advice against all global travel that isn’t strictly necessary to countries outside the European Economic Area, UK and Switzerland won’t be extended beyond Oct 1.

READ MORE: Here’s what the next 6 months of the pandemic will bring

“The Norwegian Institute of Public Health believes that there is little risk that the epidemic will get out of control, give a significant disease burden or threaten the health service’s capacity,” Solberg said.

Scotland

Scotland will follow England in easing restrictions on international travel by scrapping some testing before and after arriving in the country. The pro-independence administration in Edinburgh had planned to keep PCR tests for longer with Covid-19 cases still high.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said this week she had concerns about the U.K. government’s policy, while the tourism industry warned that travelers would just use airports in England. “We have reluctantly concluded that, for practical reasons, alignment with the U.K. is the best option,” Transport Secretary Michael Matheson said in a statement.

Jair Bolsonaro, Brazil's president, speaks to Tereza Cristina, Brazil's agriculture minister, during the launch event of the Banco do Brasil SA Agro Investment Program at Planalto Palace in Brasilia, Brazil, on Aug 24, 2021. (BLOOMBERG)

Brazil 

Brazil’s Agriculture Minister Tereza Cristina tested positive for COVID-19, the second member of President Jair Bolsonaro’s cabinet to be diagnosed with the virus this week. 

The minister said on her Twitter account on Friday morning that she’s doing well and will remain in isolation, following medical advice. One of Bolsonaro’s sons, Eduardo, also said on Twitter he was diagnosed with COVID-19. 

Switzerland

The Swiss government plans to extended free testing for those waiting for their second vaccine until the end of November. A decision will be made at the beginning of October. 

Free tests will be available to anyone for an additional 10 days, until Oct 10. Public pressure to extend free testing has been mounting after the use of the COVID-19 certificate, which attests that the holder has been jabbed, tested or has recovered from the virus, was expanded to indoor dining, fitness centers and cinemas.

RNA vaccine

The research team behind the messenger RNA technology used in COVID-19 vaccines won a Lasker-DeBakey Clinical Medical Research Award. 

Katalin Kariko and Drew Weissman “launched a novel therapeutic technology,” the award panel said in a statement. Kariko leads mRNA therapeutic work at COVID-19 vaccine maker BioNTech, and Weissman is a professor at the University of Pennsylvania. The two were both based at Penn when they did the research.

El Salvador

El Salvador will begin administering a third dose of COVID-19 vaccine to various groups including the elderly, health workers and people with underlying health conditions, President Nayib Bukele said on Friday.

The Central American nation of roughly 6.4 million people has obtained some 12 million vaccines since February.