Compiling data to keep up with the changing number of new cases of coronavirus infection and coronavirus deaths has been a challenge since the beginning of the pandemic, specifically in the US. As a result, the medical community believes that the number of infections and mortalities may be much more than the reported one.
A new study conducted by researchers from the Yale School of Public Health in New Haven and the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine in Richmond also shows a similar problem in coronavirus-related statistics in the US.
More specifically, the findings of the study, which appear in the journal JAMA, highlight how the mortality rates this year have been twenty times more than the ones estimated by researchers in the past years.
While it is known that the rise and difference are due to the coronavirus pandemic, the more concerning aspect was that the number of reported coronavirus deaths was not as much to explain the increase in mortality rates.
Read the study here.
According to the researchers who conducted the new study, the gap can be due to various difficulties in compiling data on newly reported cases and deaths.
However, at the same time, they also believe that there are also other contributing factors that may also play a big part in the excess number of deaths.
For instance, the leading author of the study, Dr. Steven H. Woolf, who is also the director emeritus of the Virginia university’s Center on Society and Health, states that many people may have died due to the indirect effects of the coronavirus.
There have been many cases of people dying due to lack of access to medical facilities due to the coronavirus pandemic. In addition, the increase in stress levels and mental health issues may also led to increase in cases of suicide and overdose.
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Secondly, it should also be noted that deaths due to various other health conditions also increased during the peaks of coronavirus. For example, during summer, the number of people dying from issues including Dementia and heart disease increased significantly.
These effects of the coronavirus pandemic may remain for a long time after the crisis as well as it is also keeping people from getting fundamental medical procedures for regular checkups for dangerous health conditions like cancer.
The rate of women getting checkups and mammogram screening has fallen dramatically, which means there increase in the diagnosis of breast cancer in late stages is likely, which, in turn, can lead to rising in preventable deaths even among younger women.
Therefore, this means that not only is the actual number of coronavirus deaths much higher than the reported one but that there also may be a lot of ‘indirect’ effects of the virus.
Improvements in the compilation of data and improved strategies can help in researchers learning and ruling out the exact causes and factors contributing to the high mortality rates in addition to the coronavirus infection.