Dr. Zinberg: Death by Policy, How Lock-downs are Killing People

From the City Journal:

Inpatient admissions nationwide in VA hospitals, the nation’s largest hospital system, were down 42 percent for six emergency conditions—stroke, myocardial infarction (MI), heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, appendicitis, and pneumonia—during six weeks of the Covid-19 pandemic (March 11 to April 21) compared with the six weeks immediately prior (January 29 to March 10). The drop was significant for all six conditions and ranged from a decrease of 40 percent for MI to 57 percent for appendicitis. No such decrease in admissions was found for the same six-week period in 2019. These emergency conditions did not become any less lethal as a result of the pandemic; rather, people simply died from acute illnesses that would have been treated in normal times.

Deaths from chronic, non-emergent conditions also increased as patients put off maintenance visits and their medical conditions deteriorated. In the second study of excess deaths, the five states with the most Covid-19 deaths from March through April (Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania), experienced large proportional increases in deaths from non-respiratory underlying causes, including diabetes (96 percent), heart diseases (89 percent), Alzheimer’s disease (64 percent), and cerebrovascular diseases (35 percent). New York City—the nation’s Covid-19 epicenter during that period—experienced the largest increases in non-respiratory deaths, notably from heart disease (398 percent) and diabetes (356 percent).

Cancer diagnoses were delayed for months as patients were unable to obtain “elective” screening procedures. For some, this will result in more advanced disease. Diagnosed cancer cases—normally treated with surgery or inpatient medical treatments—were treated with outpatient treatments instead. While some oncologists rationalized that the results might be just as good, physicians were clearly deviating from the standard of care.

The lockdowns led to wide unemployment and economic recession, resulting in increased drug and alcohol abuse and increases in domestic abuse and suicides. Most studies in a systematic literature review found a positive association between economic recession and increased suicides. Data from the 2008 Great Recession showed a strong positive correlation between increasing unemployment and increasing suicide in middle aged (45–64) people. Ten times as many people texted a federal government disaster mental-distress hotline in April 2020 as in April 2019.

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