Volume 37 - Article 45 | Pages 1445–1476
Summertime, and the livin’ is easy: Winter and summer pseudoseasonal life expectancy in the United States
|Date received:||10 Mar 2017|
|Date published:||16 Nov 2017|
|Keywords:||influenza, life expectancy, seasonality, United States of America, vaccinations|
|Additional files:||readme.37-45 (text file, 6 kB)|
|demographic-research.37-45 (zip file, 1 MB)|
Background: In temperate climates, mortality is seasonal with a winter-dominant pattern, due in part to specific causes of death, including pneumonia, influenza, and cold-induced thrombosis. Cardiac causes, which are the leading cause of death in the United States, are winter-seasonal, although the pathways are incompletely understood. Interactions between circulating respiratory viruses (e.g., influenza) and cardiac conditions have been suggested as a cause of winter-dominant mortality patterns.
Objective: In this paper we aim to quantify the total mortality burden of winter in the United States.
Methods: We calculate 'pseudoseasonal' life expectancy, dividing the year into two six-month spans, one encompassing winter, the other summer.
Results: During the summer when cold weather is absent and the circulation of respiratory viruses is signiﬁcantly reduced, life expectancy is about one year longer. We also quantify the seasonal mortality difference in terms of seasonal 'equivalent ages' (deﬁned herein) and proportional hazards.
Contribution: We quantify the effects of winter mortality. The population-level mortality reduction of a perfect inﬂuenza vaccine (which can only reduce a portion of winter-attributable mortality) would be much more modest than is often recognized.
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