Did we make a very bad bargain?
by Bruce O’Hara
June 13, 2022
In all pandemics previous to COVID, Canada quarantined the sick along with their close contacts, and isolated those individuals who were at high risk of dying. Life for the rest of the population remained close to normal.
We could have followed those traditional epidemiological principles with COVID – much as Sweden did.
Instead, we essentially quarantined and isolated the entire Canadian population for many months at a time.
Society-wide lock-downs were a huge and unprecedented experiment. The economic damage caused by lock-downs was immense. It will take years to recover from the economic damage caused by extended lockdowns.
We now have increasing evidence that school closures in particular damaged children’s language and social development, and significantly slowed their educational development.
Anyone who endured those extended lockdowns knows they were stressful, and a challenge to one’s mental and physical health.
Today I would like to examine the possibility that, in trying to protect the old and frail with society-wide lockdowns, we may well have caused thousand of extra deaths among young Canadians.
The following charts come from Statistics Canada.
The first chart compares weekly deaths among Canadians under the age of 45 in the years 2019 and 2020:
The black line is 2019, the purple is 2020. You can see in the weeks before the pandemic started in March of 2020, the deaths in 2020 were very close to those in 2019. By May of 2020, weekly deaths jump way above what they were in 2019, and stayed high for the remainder of the year.
Comparing 2021 to 2019, the pattern is even more striking:
The upper line is 2021, and weekly deaths are markedly above 2019 for the entire year.
If we sum the weekly deaths for each of the three years, we get 13,595 deaths in 2019, 16,015 deaths in 2020, and 16,920 deaths for 2021 for Canadians under the age of 45.
In other words, in 2020, deaths rose by 2,420 over 2019 – an 18% increase. Deaths in 2021 rose by 3,325 over 2019 – a 24% increase.
Over the two years, there were 5,745 more deaths than we would have expected based on 2019. That’s a lot of dead young people. What killed them?
How many of those added deaths were from COVID? The Government of Canada Health Info-base can provide us with a ballpark estimate:
Only 1.2% of those who died of COVID were under the age of 40 – or 505 individuals from the beginning of the pandemic through June 2022. If we include roughly another 300 deaths of those aged between age 40 and 44, and subtract roughly 60 for under-45 COVID deaths in 2022, that would give us a total of 745 COVID deaths among people under age 45 in 2020 and 2021.
So COVID only explains roughly 745 deaths out of the 5,745 extra deaths seen in Canadians under the age of 45 in 2020 and 2021. What killed those other 5,000 young people?
When an eighty-five-year-old dies, it usually only knocks a few years off their expected lifespan. When a twenty-five-year old dies it knocks several decades off their expected lifespan, a very much worse outcome.
Looking at the above chart, if the 25,000 people over the age of 80 who died of COVID had their lifespans shortened by an average of perhaps 4 years, a total 100,000 years of human life were lost.
If the 5,000 Canadian young people who died in excess of normal saw their lifespans shortened by an average of 40 years that would total 200,000 years of human life lost.
If it was the lock-downs that killed so many young Canadians in excess of normal, I think it crucially important to find that out before any future wave of COVID comes through. Lockdowns could well be causing a much greater loss of life than what they save.
The ‘cure’ of lockdowns may be quite literally more deadly than the disease of COVID.