University of Southern California

Science • Humans
Study: Covid-19 reduces life expectancy in US, especially among Black and Latino populations
Study: Covid-19 reduces life expectancy in US, especially among Black and Latino populations
Credit: unsplash.com/Joel Muniz

A study by the University of Southern California has found that "due to COVID-19 deaths last year, life expectancy at birth for Americans will shorten by 1.13 years to 77.48 years" – the largest single-year decline in four decades. The research found that life expectancy was further reduced among the Black and Latino populations in the US, with a reduction of 2.10 years to 72.78 years for Black people and 3.05 years to 78.77 years for Latinos, compared to a reduction of 0.68 years to 77.84 years for white people.

"Our study analyzes the effect of this exceptional number of deaths on life expectancy for the entire nation, as well as the consequences for marginalized groups," said study author Theresa Andrasfay, a postdoctoral fellow at the USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology. "The COVID-19 pandemic's disproportionate effect on the life expectancy of Black and Latino Americans likely has to do with their greater exposure through their workplace or extended family contacts, in addition to receiving poorer health care, leading to more infections and worse outcomes."

Science • Archaeology & History
Ancient teeth from Peru hint now-extinct monkeys crossed Atlantic from Africa
Ancient teeth from Peru hint now-extinct monkeys crossed Atlantic from Africa
Credit: Courtesy of University of Southern California

"This is a completely unique discovery," said Erik Seiffert, the study's lead author and Professor of Clinical Integrative Anatomical Sciences at Keck School of Medicine of USC. "We're suggesting that this group might have made it over to South America right around what we call the Eocene-Oligocene Boundary, a time period between two geological epochs when the Antarctic ice sheet started to build up and the sea level fell," said Seiffert.

When Seiffert was asked to help describe these specimens in 2016, he noticed the similarity of the two broken upper molars to an extinct 32 million-year-old parapithecid monkey species from Egypt he had studied previously. Fossils discovered at the same site in Peru had earlier offered the first proof that South American monkeys evolved from African primates.