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Hidden Cost of COVID
There are several deaths which will not be attributed to COVID, but would not have happened if the pandemic had not occurred. These unfortunately will outnumber the COVID deaths 1 to 10.
I have a near and dear one who would probably be helped a great deal by having the entire range of healthcare solutions being made available. But due to age and fear of contracting COVID, the individual has not visited the hospital for over a month now despite symptoms.
According to WHO Cardiovascular diseases are the number one cause of death globally claiming over 17.9 Million lives each year. Globally, cancer is responsible for 1 in 6 deaths, taking more than 10 million lives each year. India alone records over 62 million cases of diabetes each year and over 1 million deaths caused by it. Each year more than a million people die due to cardiovascular diseases and close to a Million due to Cancer.
Diagnosing the Unknown
There are going to be thousands, perhaps millions of older people who need a diagnosis for heart ailments, cancer and many other diseases. A large number of them would be avoiding visiting the hospital unless absolutely necessary. With many diseases, early diagnosis makes the difference between 10 more years or 10 more months left to live.
The absence of diagnosis is a horrible consequence of the current situation. In some cases, it may just go undiagnosed till rather late.
Checking the known
Almost all elective surgeries have been postponed the world over due to the current pandemic. Many of these delays are going to eventually prove costly especially if the condition is degenerative in nature.
The world is witnessing a spate of celebrity deaths and I am certain that the lockdown has most certainly contributed to their death. They would have perhaps had more regular check-ups and issues could have been spotted.
Killing them economically
In India when the lockdown was announced, I called it a war against poverty. A war where the poor end up dead and leads to fewer poor. As the migrants have made their way through this vast country many have died due to accidents and starvation. There is again no count for the number of lives lost this way.
These are lives that COVID will take in the coming months without even infecting these individuals.
Truth be told, nobody is accounting for these lives lost and perhaps this will outnumber the lives lost due to COVID.
Originally posted on Vivek Srinivasan’s Blog