The report examined 2020, the year COVID-19 killed about 380,000 Americans, yielding roughly 5.5 million years of lost life - a statistic that provides a more nuanced view of the human toll of the pandemic.
"That number of life years lost is more than the number lost in a typical calendar year to all accidents combined - including traffic fatalities, drownings, firearm accidents, drug overdoses and other poisonings - and more than triple the number of life years lost in a normal calendar year due to liver disease or diabetes," the report said.
For example, the average number of life years lost to one who dies from COVID-19 in 2020 (14 years) may not be widely appreciated because people ages 65 and older account for a large majority (approximately 80%) of US coronavirus deaths, the report said.
In contrast to a dismissive assumption that these older Americans were nearing the end of their lives anyway, life expectancy statistics tell a different story, as life expectancy increases with age. An individual who reaches age 65 is expected to live another 20 years, and the two-decade difference is roughly a quarter of the average American lifespan at birth, according to the report.