According to a recent study conducted by a multidisciplinary team of scientists from Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and California, COVID-19 stay-at-home policies resulted in excessive deaths.
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Public health workers’ initiatives to safeguard citizens from COVID-19 infection and prevent death may have backfired, according to a recent study (pdf below) reported in Health Economics. Additionally, the initiatives might be related to an increase in fatalities.
When the COVID-19 virus suddenly appeared on the scene in 2020, millions of people all over the world were forced to live by the daily commands of mandatory masking and social isolation. Even though the evidence for the process was still conflicting, shelter-in-place (SIP) or stay-at-home orders swiftly followed.
A multidisciplinary team of scientists from Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and California are expressing confidence based on findings from meticulous research analyzing whether stay-at-home orders may not have been as helpful as health officials had believed. They might have impacted both short- and long-term health.
SIP Policies Did Not Reduce Excess Deaths
Researchers concluded that preventing people from leaving their houses does not lower excess mortality after looking at SIP guidelines from dozens of nations. Additional “deaths of despair” that were not caused by the virus but rather by social and economic isolation may have been a result of the procedures.
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Researchers delved deeply into data using the Oxford COVID-19 Government Response Tracker to assess the effects of policies. They were able to extract daily data from the resources at the national and state levels for the United States, but they averaged the information to provide a weekly number before and after restrictions had been set in place.
In particular, the researchers evaluated weekly death rates preceding the restrictions for the years 2015-2019 by analyzing data from 43 nations and all 50 U.S. states. They next compared these with the weekly rates in 2020, 25 weeks after community mitigation initiatives had been put into place. The first COVID-19 death in each location served as the starting point for data analysis. Researchers also examined how long it took for states and nations to enact limitations following the initial fatality.
Utilizing incidence rates for the 43 nations and the U.S. states, deaths from COVID-19 and all other unrelated causes of death were estimated and compared to areas where stay-at-home orders were not strictly enforced.
The United States averaged 2.13 per 100,000 in the first 47 weeks when SIP rules were in effect, compared to a global average of 1.68 per 100,000 in the first 50 weeks of 2020.
“In both settings, we fail to find that SIP policies reduced excess deaths,” the authors wrote in the paper. “SIP policies might increase or decrease COVID-19 related mortality, and at the same time might also increase mortality from other causes.” Differences in excess deaths before and after the implementation of SIP policies were not observed even when accounting for pre-SIP COVID-19 death rates, they added.
The authors argued in the research that if SIP policies were intended to decrease COVID-19 mortality, there should have been a negative correlation between deaths and SIP measures over the 25-week period. They discovered the contrary, though. Internationally and domestically, the fatality rates from COVID-19 increased with the length of time that people were shielded. In terms of overall causes of death, there was also an increase. According to estimates, there were 10 extra deaths per 100,000 people worldwide compared to before the SIP was implemented. That percentage in the US was 5 per 100,000. The broad confidence interval, however, showed that the estimate was fraught with significant uncertainty.
“The results … suggest that differences in excess mortality between countries that implemented SIP policies versus countries that did not implement SIP policies were trending downwards in the weeks prior to SIP implementation,” the study authors wrote. “Similar to international comparisons, we find that SIP implementation was associated with an increase in excess mortality.”
Benefits and Risks
Many international government officials issued strict orders during the pandemic to restrict people from interacting with one another in an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19. Theoretically, halting the disease’s progression would reduce infections and avoid hospitals becoming overburdened.
Even if policies encouraging people to stay in their homes decreased viral transmission, as some studies argue, their influence on other health behaviors may have resulted in negative effects on physical and mental health, some of which have been connected to suicide and accidental death.
Furthermore, a 2021 study found that while shelter-in-place orders are in effect, COVID-19 is actually more contagious. SIP protocols did not prevent birthday parties or other festive gatherings, therefore mitigation measures were less strict there than they were in more formal contexts like workplaces, where SIP policies were in place. These unofficial gatherings were linked to higher rates of transmission within homes.
The Daily Mail reported that the brown eyes of a baby from Thailand turned bright blue after COVID treatment.
Alcohol sales more than doubled in late March 2020, according to a 2020 study that was published in JAMA Network Open, showing that people used alcohol to deal with emotions like anxiety, depression, and boredom brought on by stay-at-home jobs. Alcohol has been connected to numerous health issues, including cancer, heart disease, stroke, liver damage, and others.
According to other studies, domestic and child abuse rose during pandemic isolation, and cancer examinations that were postponed during lockdowns may have had worse cancer results. Homicides and drug overdoses both rose.
Read the study given below: