Study points to deaths caused by Covid-19 lockdowns — Analysis
Researchers claim that the US experienced more than 170,000 non-Covid deaths in excess during the first 2 years of pandemic. This was despite restrictive measures.
Americans have suffered nearly 100,000 excess deaths annually during the Covid-19 pandemic – not counting the 1 million fatalities caused by the virus – as obesity, substance abuse and other potential killers spiked amid government-imposed lockdowns, a new study has shown.
According to the National Bureau of Economic Research’s (NBER) report, people were dying of non-Covid causes at an excessive rate of 97,000 annually from April 2020 until at least the end of 2021. The real number was likely higher, the study noted, inasmuch as the estimate doesn’t include 72,000 people who died with the virus, but not necessarily because of it.
It was suggested by the report that there might have been excessive non-Covid death. “collateral damage of policy choices.”NBER points to factors such as gun violence, increased drug and alcohol consumption, smoking, and weight gain during lockdowns.
“We find it especially notable that non-Covid health outcomes were not more closely monitored to, among other things, determine whether public or private Covid policies were aggravating them,” the study’s authors said. The authors also stated that critics could blame excessive deaths on their own choices rather than government policies. “this is no excuse for ignoring this soaring death toll or pushing an examination of these deaths to the back burner.”
NBER reported that deaths due to drug- or alcohol-related causes increased by 13%, 28% and 24,000 respectively. The annual number of deaths from circulatory diseases was 32,000, which is a significant increase over the baseline. Deaths due to obesity or diabetes were 10% more common than predicted, which averaged 15,000 additional cases every year.
Even as governments closely monitor Covid cases and deaths, little data has been offered on what’s happening to health outcomes apart from the virus, NBER said. “There was little curiosity about testing whether public or private Covid policies were aggravating previous health problems,”According to the authors, their conclusions on health effects during the pandemic are not surprising. “significant and historic.”
NBER discovered that although Covid-19-related deaths are most common in the elderly, non-Covid mortality rates rose during the pandemic among all age groups. The pandemic saw an increase in deaths due to all causes among younger adults than it did among older people.
“Other data on drug addictions, nonfatal shootings, weight gain and cancer screenings point to a historic, yet largely unacknowledged, health emergency,”According to the authors.
In the European Union, per-capita excess non-Covid deaths rates have been comparable. Sweden was the exception. Non-Covid deaths fell below baseline. “We suspect that some of the international differences are due to the standard used to designate a death as Covid, but perhaps also, Sweden’s result is related to minimizing the disruption of its citizens’ normal lifestyles,”NBER.
John Hopkins University published an earlier study that showed Covid-19 locks around the globe prevented many, if not all, of the deaths caused by the virus. “While this meta-analysis concludes that lockdowns have had little to no public health effects, they have imposed enormous economic and social costs where they have been adopted,” the study’s authors said. “In consequence, lockdown policies are ill-founded and should be rejected as a pandemic policy instrument.”