The number of deaths from heart disease has risen above average in England, according to data from PHE
The number of people dying from heart disease in England has risen above average since the first wave of coronavirus, even though the number of deaths from dementia has fallen sharply.
Data from Public Health England shows that at least 1,189 more people than usual have died of heart disease since late May.
But at the same time, the number of people dying from dementia or Alzheimer’s – the most common form of dementia – has fallen to 3,120 below average.
All-cause deaths increased during the first wave of the pandemic, between March and May, when thousands of people sick with other illnesses succumbed to the rampant Covid-19 outbreak or were unable to receive the medical care they received. needed.
Most have since fallen to about normal levels, but the country’s two top killers show marked differences from what would be expected in a normal year.
The number of people dying at home has risen along with the number of deaths from heart disease. Experts suggest that some people with long-term, potentially treatable illnesses have avoided hospital for fear of contracting the coronavirus.
Meanwhile, deaths in care homes skyrocketed in the first wave as the virus spread through their vulnerable residents, many of whom have dementia, but were significantly lower in the second wave amid tougher protections for the industry.
Data from Public Health England shows that for most of the weeks since June, the number of people dying of heart disease has been higher than average. Each bar that goes up instead of down represents a number above the average for that week of the year. Yellow boxes show deaths from Covid-19 in heart patients, while white boxes show deaths among people who did not have the coronavirus
Deaths from dementia have remained below average every week since the summer, after it was significantly higher than normal during the first British wave. Normally, deaths would spread more evenly over the year, but Covid outbreaks in nursing homes brought out thousands of them by weeks or months.
Figures from PHE’s ‘excess mortality statistics’ show that the number of deaths from dementia has been consistently below the average since the first week of June.
Viewed weekly, they fell the most in the seven days to July 31, when 205 fewer people died from the disease than expected.
Dementia and Alzheimer’s are the country’s leading causes of death, accounting for 65,387 deaths in 2018 – an average of 1,257 per week.
A drop of 205 in a week means a drop of about 16 percent below the average.
Heart disease, also known as coronary artery disease or, officially, ischemic heart disease, is England’s second-leading cause of death, causing 51,989 deaths in 2018, the most recent data from the Office for National Statistics shows.
This equates to an average of about 1,000 per week.
The biggest increase since Covid’s first wave saw the death toll rise to 145 more than usual in the week ending Oct. 2 – an increase of about 14 percent.
Mortality patterns have painted a confusing picture in England this year, as Covid-19 means thousands more people have died than in an average year – the Office for National Statistics estimates that so far about 63,000 more people than usual have died.
US STUDENT NEWS RETRACTS ARTICLE CLAIMING COVID KILLS ARE ‘JUST RECLASSIFIED’
A student newspaper in the US has retracted an article after an economics researcher claimed that Covid-19 deaths in the country were merely reclassifications of fatalities that would have happened anyway.
In a story published by the Johns Hopkins News-Letter, the student newspaper of the world-renowned University of Maryland, Genevieve Briand – who leads an economics master’s program there – said there is “ no evidence that Covid-19 caused additional deaths, ” admitting add: ‘Total mortality rates are no higher than normal mortality rates’.
She had pointed out that official government data showed that deaths from heart disease and those caused by lung disease, Alzheimer’s, diabetes and the flu have decreased.
And the declines, she said, showed numbers that corresponded to the number of people who died from Covid-19. Her conclusion: that if the coronavirus hadn’t killed people, the other diseases would have done it.
But the Johns Hopkins News-Letter deleted the article and issued an apology last week, saying that the interview with Ms. Briand had contributed to the spread of misinformation.
The editorial said, “Briand was quoted in the article as saying,” All of this indicates that there is no evidence that COVID-19 caused additional deaths. The overall death rate is not above the normal rate. “
This claim is false and does not take into account the spike in raw all-cause deaths compared to previous years.
According to the CDC, there have been nearly 300,000 additional deaths from COVID-19. In addition, Briand presented data on the total number of deaths in the US compared to COVID-19-related deaths as a proportional percentage, downplaying the pandemic’s repercussions.
This evidence does not disprove the seriousness of COVID-19; an increase in the number of deaths is not shown in these proportions because they are presented as percentages, not as raw figures. ‘
And it has recorded roughly the same number of deaths from coronavirus, meaning that deaths from other causes are in fact the same as, or even lower than, normal.
This may be because many people who have died from Covid-19 so far would likely have died this year anyway, and their causes of death have simply been reclassified.
This may be especially the case for patients with dementia, many of whom are vulnerable residents of care homes who are most at risk of dying from the coronavirus.
However, an increase in deaths from non-Covid heart disease suggests that patients with the disease, which takes many years to develop and can often be treated for a long time before it is fatal, are not receiving the medical care they need .
This may be because they were unable to get appointments when the NHS limited hospital capacity on the first wave, or because they didn’t see a doctor when they should have for fear of getting Covid.
At the same time, the number of deaths from heart disease has risen, as has the number of deaths from liver failure – and both have risen along with the number of people dying at home.
Tens of thousands more than usual have died in private homes this year, while fewer than average have died in hospitals, suggesting many did not seek medical care.
It is not clear how many of the patients with heart disease died at home compared to in the hospital.
As of March 7, there have been a total of 34,663 additional deaths in private homes, and only 3,022 (9 percent) of those involved Covid-19.
Experts have expressed concern that the deaths could have been avoided at home and that people were not receiving the same care or pain relief as in the hospital.
Sir David Spiegelhalter, a Cambridge statistician, has watched the numbers with concern.
He said last month, ‘Non-Covid hospital deaths have decreased accordingly [as at-home deaths rose], suggesting that most of these deaths would normally have occurred in the hospital, and that people were either reluctant to attend, discouraged from attending, or disrupted services.
It’s unclear how many of these lives could have been extended had they gone to the hospital, for example, between the … additional deaths from cardiac arrhythmias (abnormal heartbeats).
Crucially, data cannot tell us about the quality of these deaths, especially as regards the end-of-life care provided to patients and support for their families.
“Crucially, the ONS data cannot tell us anything about the quality of these deaths, especially in terms of the end-of-life care provided to patients and support for their families.”
Professor Kevin McConway, a statistician at the Open University, added: “ Deaths at home are still significantly above the average for the past five years …
In most of those deaths, Covid-19 is not mentioned at all on the death certificate.
‘US and PHE have done some previous analyzes of excess deaths at home, and such statistics may be helpful to an extent – but they can’t tell us what kind of death these people had in their homes, or what the concern was about. end of their life. ‘