The coronavirus lockdown could kill 75,000 Britons due to canceled operations, missed diagnoses and a deep recession, official predictions from the SAGE meeting show.
Research presented to the panel of key advisers reveals the devastating and hidden impact of the lockdown on public health – as Downing Street considers whether to introduce new restrictions this winter.
The 188-page document, seen by the Daily Mail, reveals 16,000 Britons died in nursing homes and hospitals in March and April alone, with health services almost entirely consumed by the fight against the virus.
He estimates that an additional 26,000 people will die within a year if people continue to stay away from A&E for fear of contracting the virus in hospital.
According to the document, another 31,900 deaths could occur over the next five years due to missed cancer diagnoses, canceled operations or the health effects of a recession.
The estimates were compiled by officials from the Ministry of Health, the Office for National Statistics and the Interior Ministry and presented to SAGE at a meeting on July 15, the Mail reports.
However, the document points out that the coronavirus could have killed 400,000 Britons if a lockdown had not been imposed in March – the figure rising to 1.4 million if the NHS were overwhelmed.
It reads: “We estimate that the changes to emergency care could represent an additional 6,000 existing deaths in March and April 2020.
“If emergency care in hospitals remains weak for a full 12 months, it could lead to 10,000 more deaths.
“We estimate that there were approximately 10,000 additional non-Covid-19 deaths of nursing home residents in March and April 2020 … there could be 16,000 additional non-Covid-19 deaths over 12 months among residents nursing homes.
Stretched over a five-year period, officials estimate 12,500 deaths could occur from the canceled operations.
When added to deaths from coronaviruses, the total number of deaths from the pandemic will rise to 101,000 in the UK by next March.
This figure could reach nearly 150,000 in five years, according to estimates.
Professor Chris Gale, a cardiologist at Leeds University, told the newspaper: “These are deaths that should not have happened.
“We were totally locked up and the message to stay home was taken literally. People did not seek treatment and many died as a result.
“The indirect death toll may well end up exceeding Covid’s direct toll. “
However, the document also acknowledges that the lockdown prevented around 4,000 deaths through “healthier lifestyles in the short term.”
Factors such as better air quality, reduced traffic accidents and fewer childhood illnesses could mean 1,000 fewer deaths per year.
It comes as a worrying increase in the number of cases nationwide which has meant more than a quarter of Britons are now living under additional restrictions.
A ban on mixing households into their homes went into effect at midnight last night in Wigan, Stockport, Blackpool and Leeds in an attempt to stem transmission.
The UK yesterday recorded its highest figure of infections in a single day, with 6,874 confirmed cases.
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Restrictions are already in place in large swathes of North West England, West Yorkshire, the North East and the Midlands, as well as parts of West Scotland.
In the latest tightening of national restrictions, the prime minister refrained from imposing another national lockdown, but ordered pubs to close at 10 p.m.
Ministers have not ruled out a second ‘breaker’ lockdown if the virus continues to spread this winter, but are waiting to see if new restrictions reduce the rate of transmission.