A distressing report emerges today from government statistics in Spain, showing that the lockdown has killed many more than the disease.
From the start of the pandemic until the third week in September, there were 54.811 excess deaths (more people dying that the average over the last few years). 30.633 of these have been officially attributed to Covid.
24.148 (that’s 80% of the Covid deaths!) died from other causes. That’s excess deaths, above the average, people who are dying undiagnosed with the virus and simply due to the Covid restrictions which are choking the health service and society as a whole.
Out of the 30.633 people who died with Coronavirus in Spain, 20.900 of them were residents in pensioner homes (source TVE). Stripping these out, that means just 9.733 people (up to end of September) died of Coronavirus. That means, according to my maths, that 248% more people died of untreated diseases than died of Coronavirus.
Dr. Germán Peces-Barba, vice president of the Spanish association of pneumologists told a national newspaper investigating the story:
Some of these deaths may be because of undiagnosed Covid, but most of them are likely to be deaths caused by untreated illness of other types.Dr. Germán Peces-Barba, Sociedad Española de Neumología
The answer appears to be simple: the pandemic has lead to the collapse of the health service. This, combined with people’s reluctance to go to the doctors for fear of Covid, is causing non-Covid deaths to shoot up almost as high as the Covid death rate.
Doctors say we just don’t know what these people are dying of, as the overstretched system just can’t cope. Deaths are not being properly investigated, and people aren’t getting the treatment they need.
The data collection in Spain is so bad, that we just can’t say for certain what has killed many thousands of peopleDr ramon garcía sanz, president, spanish society of hematology
Between March 14 and the end of the survey, heart attacks dropped by 40%. Either people have started to die of something else, or they just aren’t being treated for heart attacks. The most likely scenarios? People with light symptoms are staying at home instead of seeking help (or can’t find medical help due to Covid restrictions) and delays in treatment means these people are already dead by the time the doctors arrive, and death is abruptly certified without investigation.
Long term treatment of cases, in the same way as in other countries across Europe, has been badly impacted. 80% of mental health cases are not being treated. There has been a 20% drop in the reported lung cancer rate. In the first few months of the pandemic, light heart attacks dropped by more than 80%, and the risk of dying from heart problems has been multiplied by 1.88% over last year (ie, almost doubled). The death rate amongst patients of blood diseases has gone by 36%. Etc. (Source: La Vanguardia).
Marciano Sánchez Bayle of the Spanish Federation of Associations in Defence of Public Health warns that according to his own research, more than 500,000 operations have been cancelled this year; 10 million consultations and more than 2 million diagnostic tests cancelled.
Patients in Granada have issued a formal complaint saying routine cancer control tests are being delayed by more than a month and that when the appointments do come around, they are so over subscribed that seriously ill people have to sit for hours in hospital waiting rooms.
The closure of day centres across the nation has caused an immense amount of stress upon families living with people with mental health problems. Especially amongst the elderly with dementia or Alzheimer’s. Nobody knows what is happening to these people. When they attended day centres, they were checked up on and the families had a well earned rest. Now, they are uncontrolled and lost.
In Burgos, the health system is being sued after a 48-year-old woman died of rectal cancer. She had been trying to get an appointment with her GP for four months, and her only appointment – by telephone – was inconclusive. Her clinic was unable to attend to walk-in patients due to Covid restrictions. She twice attended A&E with crippling pains, but each time was told she had nothing seriously wrong with her and to go to her GP if the pain didn’t get better. She was eventually hospitalised after collapsing with anaemia and died a couple of weeks later without leaving hospital.
The tales go on and on. Sometimes, the cure is worse than the disease. This is one of them.
The original death rate, back in the beginnings of the pandemic, was heavily down to the infection rate in OAP residencies and amongst the elderly. Now that this sector of the population is under tight restrictions, the death rate is much lower.
Out of the 30.633 people who died with Coronavirus in Spain, 20.900 of them were residents in pensioner homes. Stripping these out, that means just 9.733 people (up to end of September) died of Coronavirus. That means that 248% more people died of untreated diseases than died of Coronavirus.
The median age of a person dying with Covid is currently 82-years-old. Covid doesn’t kill – it exacerbates comorbidities. And there’s no point destroying a society if, in doing so, you kill more people than Covid will.