What We’re Reading: COVID-19 Reduced Life Expectancy; Pfizer to Seek Vaccine Authorization in Children; School Mask Requirements

Twenty-two countries saw a 6-month reduction in life expectancy; Pfizer/BioNTech plan to request authorization of a COVID-19 vaccine for children aged 5 to 11 years; schools with mask requirements had fewer COVID-19 outbreaks.

US Male Life Expectancy Drops by 2.2 Years

The COVID-19 pandemic reduced life expectancy in 2020 by the largest amount since World War II, as reported by Reuters. According to a study published by Oxford University, men’s life expectancy decreased more than women’s in most countries, with American men seeing the biggest drop of 2.2 years compared with 2019. Of 29 countries studied, 27 of them saw a reduction in life expectancy and 22 saw a decrease by more than 6 months compared with 2019.

Pfizer/BioNTech to Seek Authorization of Vaccine for Children Under 12

Pfizer/BioNTech plan to request authorization of their COVID-19 vaccine for children younger than 12 years, CNN Health reported. CDC director Rochelle Walensky, MD, MPH, said once Pfizer submits the data on vaccines for children aged 5 to 11 years, both the FDA and CDC will review it with urgency and hopefully authorize the vaccine within weeks. Until then, the CDC recommends that children wear masks and socially distance to prevent the spread of COVID-19, especially in school settings.

School Mask Mandates Reduce Spread of COVID-19 in Children

The CDC released more evidence that school mask requirements are associated with lower spikes in pediatric COVID-19 cases and fewer school outbreaks, The Washington Post reported. After analyzing data from 520 US counties, the CDC found that COVID-19 cases in children rose more sharply in schools without mask requirements. After looking at 2 of Arizona’s most populous counties, the agency also learned that schools without mask requirements were 3.5 times more likely to have an outbreak compared with schools with mask requirements. Since the school year started, more than 900,000 students in 44 states have already been affected by closures.