The mortality and psychological burden caused by response to COVID-19 outbreak
Medical Hypotheses , Volume 143
The world is experiencing a severe COVID-19 outbreak. To control this outbreak, many governments in the world have imposed lockdown or quarantine measures. We hypothesize that these measures may cause additional mortality and morbidity in the (near) future due to delay in diagnosing diseases and other indirect effect on health (such as economic crisis). To support this hypothesis and to estimate the additional mortality that may linked to the COVID-19 controlling policy, we performed a step-by-step pragmatical approach. First, we chose a country (The Netherlands), and looked at the most common causes of mortality in this country. Then, we performed a literature study on the additional mortality when these causes were diagnosed late, and selected a paper with the most severe scenario. We also performed a literature study on the effect of economic crisis on additional mortality. The mortality data were then extrapolated to the demography of The Netherlands, and the results were compared with the present data on deaths directly due to COVID-19. Roughly, we forecast 388 additional deaths a week in The Netherlands in 5 years due to the direct and indirect effects of the lockdown measures. The most important implications of this hypothesis is that the additional mortality and increased mental health problem should be considered in evaluating the necessity of lock down and quarantine policy.