April 24, 2024

On excess mortality and community quarantines

Excess mortality, also known as mortality displacement, is a temporary increase in the number of deaths in a specified population over a specified period of time. Scientists use this number to determine the impact on human population of catastrophic events.
Recently, excess mortality has been used to ascertain the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Philippines Statistics Authority has reported the preliminary number of registered deaths from January to November 2020 reached 515,056.
This is lower than the total registered deaths of 568,552 in the same period in 2019, as around 53,000 less people died in 2020 than in 2019.
On one hand, are the community quarantines being imposed by the National Inter-Agency Task Force since March 2020 working?
If the clamor of the masses is that every life counts, then maybe we should have initiated community quarantines since 2019 to prevent those deaths? On the other hand, do the government solutions of lockdowns and isolating healthy people have a worse impact than the disease itself?
Let’s be clear: Every additional death is a tragic loss. As a community, we would like to extend our time spent with our loved ones as much as possible. As far as science goes, humans still can’t avoid death – we can only delay it. We can count deaths all we want, but is anyone aware of the years of life lost being caused by community isolation?
Statistically, around 1,700 people die every day in the Philippines. Could our lockdowns be contributing to those deaths? This is not to say we should downplay the impact of Covid-19 – people did die from it. But there are still deaths from delayed hospital treatments, suicides, alcohol abuse, and heart disease to name a few. To date, heart disease is still the number one killer worldwide.
Perhaps we should take a closer look at our priorities. Rather than reacting to diseases, we should preemptively fight it – by becoming healthier.
Eat mostly whole foods, avoid sugary drinks, take essential vitamins like vitamin D, get enough sleep, and exercise regularly. — HONORARY PROF. CHATNOIR, Baguio City