Boris Johnson’s Lockdown Killed 21,000 Britons in First 8 Weeks Alone Study Finds
A government hasn't killed this many British civilians since the Blitz
Almost 2,700 people a week have died because of the effects of lockdown, analysis of official data suggests.
The study by economists and academics from Sheffield and Loughborough universities suggests more than 21,000 people died as a result of the measures introduced in March.
The analysis examines Office for National Statistics (ONS) data in the eight weeks that followed the national lockdown.
Researchers said the findings show that “lockdown has killed 21,000 people” because the policy has had “significant unintended consequences” such as lack of access to critical healthcare and a collapse in A&E attendances.
The study examines deaths data in recent months, and tracks it against long-term trends, taking account of other variables such as demographic and economic factors.
It suggests that the lockdown – and the subsequent reduction in access to healthcare – increased total mortality by roughly 2,700 deaths a week.
It follows warnings that the number of people attending Accident and Emergency departments fell by 50 per cent at some points during the pandemic, while urgent referrals for suspected cancer dropped by 70 per cent.
Separate research warns such delays could mean up to 35,000 extra deaths from cancer a year.
The new analysis by the University of Sheffield, Loughborough University and economists at Economic Insight, suggests that the number of deaths which were not caused by coronavirus dwarfed the numbers which were.
It suggests that on average, there were roughly 4,000 more deaths from other causes than those which were caused by Covid-19, in the lockdown period.
The estimates suggest 21,544 extra deaths in the first eight weeks of lockdown – an average of 2,693 a week.
Researchers said the continuation of social distancing measures may mean the total death toll caused by lockdown, and its knock-on effects, may be yet larger.
A significant proportion of the official daily death toll are people who have recovered from Covid-19 but then gone on to die of other causes, Oxford University experts revealed.
Unlike in Scotland and Wales, where there is a 28-day cut-off, anyone who has ever tested positive for coronavirus in England counts as a Covid death when they die, even if it is months later and from a clearly unrelated cause.
Researchers said the findings had “profound implications for both future policymaking and behavioural science”.
Sam Williams, director of Economic Insight, said the new study attempted to “more robustly quantify the number of Covid-19 deaths in England and Wales”.
“In total, lockdown has killed more than 21,000 people in net terms, that would have lived without a lockdown,” he said.
Mr Williams said current existing measures – tracking deaths “associated” with Covid, without proof of cause, and excess deaths, suffered from “material deficiencies”.
He said: “The existing reported measures (Covid-19 associated deaths and excess deaths respectively) suffer from well known, and material, deficiencies. The former because it requires only weak evidence that Covid-19 ‘may’ have contributed to a death. The latter because it assumes all variation in weekly mortality relative to a five-year average represents ‘excess’ deaths due to Covid-19 (rather than those deaths being brought forward, or being due to other reasons).
He said the paper raised particular concerns about the rationale for blanket lockdowns, fuelling high numbers of deaths in relatively young age groups.
A study published in The Lancet Oncology has found that cancers missed amid the pandemic will cut lives short by an average of 20 years each, research suggests.
Experts said the findings were a “sobering” reflection of the fact that many delays in diagnosis will affect relatively young people who should have had decades ahead of them.
Source: The Telegraph