Webinar "Challenges in interpreting the mortality impact of COVID-19"
On April 24, the regular seminar of the Modern Demography series was held. At the seminar, David A. Leon (Chief Research Fellow at the HSE University; Professor of Epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine; Adjunct Professor at the UiT The Arctic University of Norway) presented the report "Challenges in interpreting the mortality impact of COVID-19".
Firstly D. Leon was presented the analyses of daily data published in the UK on the number of "COVID-19" deaths in the hospitals. While these data are perceived by the media, the public, and politicians as a key indicator of progress or failure, they need careful and thoughtful analysis to be meaningful. D. Leon noted that reported counts of deaths were occurring over a wide range of previous days due to inevitable delays in reporting mechanisms. Then, reported pick of deaths among patients aged 80+ has occurred a few days early than among patients aged 40-59.
In the second part of the report, D. Leon mentioned the negative and positive effects of the coronavirus pandemic on mortality. Direct negative effects include 1) premature mortality, in particular in older persons whose life was near to the end; 2) unwillingness of people to attend emergency even if sick. The medium - and long-term effects of the pandemic include 1) cancellation of planned operations; 2) delayed diagnosis of cancer and other diseases; 3) interruption of screening measures for cancer; 4) increased alcohol consumption; 5) reduced physical activity. In addition, health care and welfare services may have reduced resources in the future, and deaths among the unemployed and poor may increase. As the positive impact of the pandemic, D. Leon noted a reduction in deaths from road accidents and industrial injuries, as well as a reduction in air pollution.
Presentation (PDF, 1.87 Mb)