The number of excess deaths in Britain is far higher than would be expected at this time of the year and COVID-19 is not responsible, writes The Telegraph.
More than 70,000 additional deaths above the five-year average have been recorded in private homes in England and Wales since the start of the pandemic in March last year. Of this number, according to an opinion piece in The Telegraph, just 8,423 – or 12% – involved COVID-19. While some people continue to fixate on the rising number of daily COVD cases it is evident that another health crisis is unfolding connected to the lockdowns and the difficulties of accessing care.
Among the fatal illnesses identified by Public Health England as above normal levels are ischaemic heart disease, cardiac failure, strokes, aneurysms and circulatory failure. Acute and chronic respiratory infection deaths have also risen, along with those caused by cirrhosis and diabetes. Many of these conditions are also on a list showing the biggest falls in diagnosis as a result of a dramatic collapse in GP consultations in 2020. This is also expected to feed into a sharp spike in late and untreatable cancer presentations.
Although new COVID cases are running above 33,000 the vaccine means far fewer people are dying and hospitalisations are well below last winter’s peak. The figures for excess deaths show that as autumn turns to winter and the season for respiratory diseases advances, the emphasis should be on opening up the primary health system rather than closing it down again. For many, adds The Telegraph, the exhortation to Protect the NHS has turned out to have had a high price attached.
The Telegraph article – The cost of lockdown (Restricted access)
See more from MedicalBrief archives:
Millions of cancelled operations due to COVID and high death risk – UK study
Getting to see a British GP is ‘like breaking into Fort Knox’
British GPs: 'Rather in-person consultations than call centre approach'