The coronavirus has dominated all of our lives in recent months. Radical paths were taken by politicians in the form of lockdowns to contain the pandemic. But we should recognize that even if the coronavirus is a (major) challenge for us, we always have to keep a holistic view of world events. Just as there are epidemiological factors to consider in this crisis, there are also economic, social, cultural, political and other health factors at play. It is precisely these other factors that are so often forgotten in the panicky reporting, in the constant, manic tracking of the current infection numbers, that we want to take a look at in our series “The Costs of Coronavirus Lockdowns” in the coming weeks.
The costs of lockdowns and restrictions as a response to the coronavirus spread into every facet of society. The pandemic has triggered devastating secondary health crises. Even the unborn pay the price. Stillborn is a baby born with no sign of life after 28 weeks of pregnancy. The causes and factors are many, and sometimes unavoidable. But when women are less likely to seek treatment because one has to ‘stay home,’ one thing is for sure: those rates start rising globally.
A single-center study at a London hospital saw stillbirths rising fourfold. Sweden, on the other hand, did not see any significant change in the numbers between April and May in 2020 compared to those in 2019. Similar rates to those of England can be found in Uttar Pradesh, India, with almost a fourfold increase in stillbirths between March and August last year compared to the same period in 2019. In Nepal, the sharpest rise of 50% was observed during the first month of the pandemic when the most severe restrictions were in place.
As UNICEF reported in October 2020, due to severe COVID-related disruptions in health care services, more than 200.000 additional stillbirths could occur just in the next 12 months, concentrated in low- and middle-income countries. This comes after a steady drop in stillborn cases in the past three decades.
More Statistics in Our Costs of Coronavirus Lockdowns Series:
Children Hurt Not by Corona – But by Lockdowns: children’s mental-health-related visits to the emergency departments in the U.S. increased by approximately 24% and 31% for children aged 5-11 and 12-17, respectively, compared to the same period in 2019. (CDC)
Record-Breaking Budget Deficit in the U.S.: the U.S. government spent $3.1 trillion more than it collected in 2020. Who is supposed to ever pay back all this money has not been answered yet. (U.S. Department of the Treasury)
Drug Addiction Intensifies: the number of people dying from drug overdose in the U.S.rose by 17% in the last twelve months. This only includes reported cases until May 31, 2020. (CDC)
Governments Grow in Size: in Austria, Germany, France, and Italy government spending has risen dramatically in 2020. (European Commission, Statista, and Handelsblatt)
Stillbirths on the Rise: more than 200.000 additional stillbirths could occur just in the next 12 months, concentrated in low- and middle-income countries. (UNICEF)
The Poor Pay the Higher Lockdowns Price: lockdowns and restrictions have proven to be something that disproportionally affects those already poor, whereas those wealthier are less hurt. (PEW Research Center)
How Women Are More Hurt by Lockdowns Than Men: between the first and second quarter of 2020, on average, women suffered a 6.9 % decline in wages, compared to the 4.7% decline suffered by their male counterparts. (International Labor Organization)
No Work in Europe Thanks to Lockdowns: The sharp decline in labor market participation and the 32 million people under the short-term work schemes hide the real numbers of the unemployed in the European Union, which most likely averaged a two-digit number. (ECB & Eurostat)
Printing Money in Times of Corona: Monetary policy effectiveness has its boundaries. As the Fed has created 39% of all the “dollars” in the economy in 2020, those boundaries might have been reached. (Trading Economics)
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