Scientists have analysed mortality statistics in the UK during the initial phases of the Covid-19 pandemic, by analysing the weekly national mortality statistics over the last five years. They found there were fewer deaths recorded during December 2019-March 2020 in comparison to the previous five years — including in the subgroup assessment of respiratory mortality rates. The analysis found that during the first months of 2020, there were consistently fewer deaths each week compared with the previous five years.
The study is published in the Journal of International Medical Research.
Researchers have called this the SARS-CoV-2 paradox — and suggested this could be due to early social distancing measures. The scientists propose it could also be due to the emphasised importance of washing hands, staying home when one feels unwell and coughing or sneezing into a tissue. Also, mortality may be reduced as hospital admission numbers have reduced; and there may thus be a reduction in the spread of hospital-acquired infections.
The graph shows that in week 12, (starting March 20) there was an increase in deaths, with 2020 deaths being 10,645, and previous 5-year mean being 10,573. They propose that this could be related to Covid-19, as symptoms such as headaches and loss of taste weren’t identified; however, they proposed, it could also be attributed to healthcare systems being increasingly selective about which patients to take as lockdown was formally announced that week.
Source: University of Warwick
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