Blockages No More Harming Health Than Covid, Researchers Say | Health
Since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, critics of the unprecedented lockdown measures seen around the world have argued that these interventions are causing more damage than the disease itself. But an analysis of global health data suggests there is little evidence to support the idea that the cure is worse than the disease.
Analysis, published in the journal BMJ Global Health, examined claims that blockages cause more health damage than Covid-19 by examining their impacts on measures such as death rates, routine health services and mental health .
As part of their study, the researchers looked at countries that imposed heavy restrictions with few cases of Covid to assess whether the intervention triggered excess mortality, said author Professor Gavin Yamey of the Duke Global Health Institute. from Duke University.
Using an international dataset of all-cause mortality from 94 countries, the researchers found that countries like New Zealand and Australia had no excess mortality last year. In contrast, places with few Covid restrictions like Brazil, Sweden, Russia and sometimes parts of the United States have recorded large numbers of excess deaths during the pandemic.
“This is… one of the most compelling pieces of evidence to support the idea that the cure was no worse than the disease,” Yamey said. “It appears that countries that acted quickly and aggressively have often killed fewer people than in previous years. One study showed that the lockdown may have reduced annual mortality by up to 6% by eliminating influenza transmission alone. “
The excess mortality data could not exclude the damage caused by the lockdown or conclude whether lockdowns have a net benefit, however, especially given the very high excess mortality in many countries that have pursued such strategies as the United Kingdom, researchers wrote.
Health services were another line of inquiry. While data suggests a marked reduction in attendance at vital non-Covid health services during shutdowns, overwhelmed health services or a perceived high risk of infection in health facilities would also deter people from accessing care , the researchers suggested. “With the current evidence, it is simply not possible to adequately support either causal claim,” they concluded.
The relationship between mental health and lockdowns is often highlighted, but the link between large-scale Covid epidemics and depression and anxiety is often overlooked, the researchers noted. “The lack of school clearly affects children’s mental health, but so does the loss of a loved one to Covid-19. “
The document, which does not include economic considerations, argues that the lockdowns are likely to have negative effects. However, “the fact that there is no place in the world where a lockdown without a large number of Covid cases has been associated with a large number of excessive deaths shows quite convincingly that the interventions themselves do not can not be worse than large epidemics of Covid, at least in the short term “.
Dr Dean Burnett, honorary research associate at Cardiff University, who was not involved in the analysis, said the study suggests that many problems attributed to blockages cannot be easily distinguished from those caused by the pandemic itself.
“The main point to remember is that ‘deciding’ between lockdown or pandemic is a very flawed premise,” he said. “The pandemic exists whether there is a lockdown or not. While the lockdown can have a number of negative mental health consequences, there is little to no evidence to say that these consequences are worse than what we would see in the same situation without the lockdown. It is much more likely that the opposite is true.