Shutdown has saved tens of thousands of lives

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Researchers at Imperial College London have studied the excess mortality in 19 European countries, as well as Australia and New Zealand, and present their findings in the latest issue of the journal Nature Medicine.

From mid-February to May this year, 206,000 more people died than in the last decade in the same period. The excess mortality rate was thus 18 percent.

This is the same number who usually die of lung cancer during a whole year in these countries and more than twice as many who die of breast cancer and diabetes throughout the year.

Fewer than usual in Norway

In Spain, 38 per cent more people died than usual, and in England and Wales the excess mortality was 37 per cent.

Also in Italy, Scotland and Belgium, far more people died than usual, while in countries such as Norway, Denmark, Finland, New Zealand, Australia, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Bulgaria, either very little excess mortality or fewer died than usual. , the report shows.

Preliminary figures from the National Institute of Public Health in Norway show that from March to May this year, 190 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants were registered, while in the same period the year before, 192 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants were registered.

Quick shutdown decided

The researchers at Imperial College London have in their study taken into account factors such as age and the extent of underlying diseases in the population.

The conclusion is that the authorities’ willingness to quickly introduce infection control measures helped to determine how large the excess mortality was.

Countries such as Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, France and the United Kingdom were slow to shut down, and Sweden completely failed to shut down.

While Norway has so far registered 277 corona-related deaths, which corresponds to five per 100,000 inhabitants, Sweden has had 5,899 deaths, 58 per 100,000 inhabitants.

– The results show that countries that were quick to shut down had lower excess mortality during the first wave of the epidemic, the researchers state.

Spending money on health care

The condition within the individual countries’ public health care also determined to a certain extent how great the excess mortality was, the researchers state.

They believe to see a clear connection between how much is spent on health care per capita, and how many died during the first wave of infection this spring.

– Per capita spending is lower in the UK, Italy and Spain than it is in Austria, Norway, Sweden and Denmark, they point out.

Good foundation

Professor Amitava Banerjee at University College London believes the study provides a good basis for dealing with future epidemics and pandemics.

The way to limit excess mortality is to reduce the spread of infection by shutting down society, protecting those at risk and establishing effective systems for testing, tracking and isolating infection, he says.

Over 38 million people have so far been diagnosed with coronary heart disease in the world, and for almost 1.1 million it has had a fatal outcome.

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