Life expectancy at birth last year stood at 82 years, compared to 83.2 years in 2019, the Istat national statistics office said in a new release.
“In 2020, the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic and the resulting sharp increase in mortality abruptly interrupted the growth in life expectancy at birth that had characterised the trend until 2019,” it said in a statement.
For many years Italy has boasted one of the longest life expectancies in Europe. But with the spread of the coronavirus, its ageing population was especially vulnerable to falling sick.
Italy has recorded close to 130,000 deaths from Covid-19 in total, which have mainly been among the elderly.
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The drop in life expectancy was even steeper in some regions such as the northern provinces of Bergamo and Cremona, the epicentre of the Covid-19 outbreak in early 2020.
Men lost on average 4.3 and 4.5 years while women lost 3.2 years and 2.9 years in these areas.
More than 129,500 people with coronavirus have died in Italy, the majority in the northern regions where 36 percent of the population lives.
According to Istat, the pandemic has wiped out many of the gains made year-on-year since 2010, when Italy’s average life expectancy was 81.7.
Italy was the first European country to face a major outbreak of Covid-19 and for a time the region of Lombardy, the nation’s economic heart, became the epicentre of the global pandemic.
Quality of life has also been impacted in Italy, particulary due to the economic repercussions of the crisis.
The government has since rolled out a vaccination programme that, as of Monday evening, had almost 72 percent of the population over 12 fully immunised.
Italy has set a target of vaccinating at least 80 percent of the population by the end of September.