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Quebec statistics agency says pandemic led to drop in life expectancy in 2020

Health-care workers get ready to turn a COVID-19 patient in the ICU who is intubated and on a ventilator from her back to her stomach at the Humber River Hospital during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Wednesday, December 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

MONTREAL _ Life expectancy in Quebec dropped in 2020 due to an increase in deaths linked to the COVID-19 pandemic, according the province’s statistics agency.

For men in Quebec, average life expectancy dropped by five months, to 80.6 years, and dropped by eight months for women, to 84 years, the Institut de la statistique du Quebec said Wednesday.

Between 2019 and 2020, the number of deaths reported in Quebec rose by 10 per cent _ or 6,750 fatalities; there were 74,550 deaths reported in the province in 2020. That’s compared to an average rise in deaths of 2 per cent a year between 2010 and 2019 _ due to population growth and an aging population

The agency says that during the same 10-year period, life expectancy rose by an average of 2.3 months a year for men and 1.5 months a year for women.

Meanwhile, Montreal’s public health director said Wednesday that while the number of new cases reported daily in the city remains stable, she’s worried about the spread of new coronavirus variants. “We may be seeing a third wave in front of us,” Dr. Mylene Drouin told reporters.

She said 15 per cent of new cases in the city are linked to variants, up from 12 per cent last week. There are 43 outbreaks in schools linked to mutations, Drouin said, adding that most of those outbreaks are small.

School-age children and their parents account for the majority of all new cases in the city, she said.

Earlier Wednesday, health officials reported 729 new cases of COVID-19 and 19 more deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus, including two that occurred in the previous 24 hours. Officials said hospitalizations dropped by 10, to 618, while the number of people in intensive care dropped by one, to 120.

They said 16,117 doses of vaccine were administered Tuesday, for a total of 472,710. Quebec has 7,336 active reported infections and has reported a total of 289,670 COVID-19 cases and 10,426 deaths linked to the virus.

Premier Francois Legault is scheduled to announce updated COVID-19 restrictions on Wednesday evening.

On Tuesday, Health Minister Christian Dube told reporters that worries around new coronavirus variants, particularly in the Montreal area, would shape Wednesday’s announcement.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 3, 2021.