Episode 1 Health – 10 Ways the Covid Response Harmed Society
Current estimates suggest 14-18 million excess deaths occurred in 2020-21, of which 5-6 million are reported Covid deaths. The proportion of excess mortality from non-Covid causes remains unclear. Studies from North America show 20% of excess mortality (2020-21) was due to non-Covid causes, rising to over 70% for those less than 45 years old in the United States. This proportion is likely to be higher in low- and middle-income countries, although data is currently lacking. Health utilization decreased by an estimated 37% during the initial months of the crisis in 2020 with outpatient care declining by 56%. This led to increased morbidity for a wide range of diseases. Mental health deteriorated, especially during the initial lockdown period, with longer-term effects in a significant proportion of individuals. An estimated 53 million new cases of depressive disorder and 76 million new cases of anxiety disorder occurred globally in 2020. Mental health disproportionately worsened for those with pre-existing disorders, parents, marginalized groups, women and younger adults. There is limited clinical data available, although suicide attempts and eating disorders increased among children.
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About the Author
Kevin Bardosh is the Director of Collateral Global, a UK-based charity dedicated to researching the global impacts of Covid-19 policy responses and helping the world better balance societal trade-offs during future health emergencies. He has worked in more than 20 countries on infectious disease control programs (including Ebola and Zika), authored more than 50 peer-reviewed publications and edited two books. He is currently an Affiliate Assistant Professor in the School of Public Health, University of Washington USA and an Honorary Lecturer at the Edinburgh Medical School, University of Edinburgh UK.
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