According to a new study recession caused due to strict COVID-19 lockdown may kill 1 million more people than coronavirus itself in the next two decades. The study found that over the next 20 years, 1.37 million more people will die than would have died without the unemployment shock the pandemic caused, a number the researchers call “staggering.”
Academics from Duke University, Harvard Medical School, and the Johns Hopkins University business school have concluded that there could be around a million excess deaths over the next two decades as a result of strict COVID-19 lockdowns.
The working paper (read full paper below) titled ‘The Long-Term Impact Of The Covid-19 Unemployment Shock On life Expectancy And Mortality Rates‘, suggests that:
“For the overall population, the increase in the death rate following the COVID-19 pandemic implies a staggering 0.89 and 1.37 million excess deaths over the next 15 and 20 years, respectively.”
The study was conducted by Francesco Bianchi, an economist at Duke University, Giada Bianchi, an MD in the Division of Hematology, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital Harvard Medical School, and Dongho Song, an economist at the Johns Hopkins University’s Carey Business School.
The study concluded that the total lives lost to the virus in the U.S. may “far exceed those immediately related to the acute COVID-19 critical illness…The recession caused by the pandemic can jeopardize population health for the next two decades.”
The study found that over the next 20 years, 1.37 million more people will die than would have died without the unemployment shock the pandemic caused, a number the researchers call “staggering.”
They find also that “excess deaths will disproportionately affect African-Americans.” The implied increases in deaths per 100,000 individuals over the next 20 years are 32.6 for African-Americans versus 24.6 for white Americans.
In all, about 3.2% more people would die in the U.S. over that span than would have died without the spike in joblessness.
The study into how unemployment affects mortality and life expectancy was centred around 67 years of data about unemployment, life expectancy, and death rates from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“Based on emerging data, it is likely that the limited access to health care during the lockdown, temporary discontinuation of preventive care interventions, massive loss of employer-provided health insurance coverage, and the lingering concern of the population about seeking medical care out of fear of contracting COVID-19 will impact mortality rate and life expectancy even more severely.”
The paper suggests that deaths caused by the economic and societal decline as a result of lockdowns may “far exceed those immediately related to the acute COVID-19 critical illness.”
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