Delayed health care during pandemic may have led to thousands of excess deaths: study – CTV

November 30, 2021

Health-care restrictions brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic may have contributed to thousands of excess deaths not related to the virus, along with increased incidents of mental health disorders and substance use, and have put a strain on the Canadian health-care system, according to a study commissioned by the Canadian Medical Association (CMA).

The study shows that delayed treatments or missed health-care services due to pandemic restrictions may have been a factor in more than 4,000 excess deaths unrelated to COVID-19 infections between August and December 2020 and have also resulted in a significant backlog of medical procedures.

Excess deaths refer to the number of deaths above the expected rate. The number of deaths in Canada was higher than expected from spring 2020 into winter early 2021, the study says, and during much of the time between August and December within that period the volume of excess deaths was estimated to be higher than the number of COVID-19 deaths, although it was lower in the following months.

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