An average of 16 years snatched. Approximately 5,840 days , one after the other, with all the life that can fit in them. That is the worst price that the pandemic has charged, and that each one of the deceased by COVID-19 has paid , as calculated by a team of scientists after contrasting the difference between the age of the victims at the time of their death and life expectancy in your country.
Of the many fallacies that have proliferated during these months of the pandemic, there is one that has been repeated with particular insistence: “Only the elderly and sick people die.” Nothing is further from reality. And nothing more unacceptable. The researchers hope that the results of their work will at least serve to highlight such unfortunate claims.
“I think that the main contribution of our study is that it puts figures on supposed prejudices that minimize the problem and argue that it is just one more flu; that they were people who if they did not die of COVID would die of anything else , to purpose and effect of protecting their businesses against the necessary confinements “, Guillem López Casasnovas assures RTVE.es , Professor of Economics at Pompeu Fabra University (UPF) and director of the Center for Research in Economics and Health (CRES-UPF), who is among the main authors of the study.
Precisely, the work also serves to demolish that other incorrect argument mentioned by López Casasnovas: that COVID-19 is like the flu. It was a very widespread error in the initial stages of the pandemic, when little information was available, although there are still those who cling to this statement, against all the scientific evidence accumulated for almost a year.
In the study, researchers have shown that the number of deaths associated with COVID-19 is much higher than that of seasonal flu, and they have observed that in countries where the pandemic has hit with particular virulence, the number of years of life lost is between two and nine times the number of years of life lost to seasonal flu during a normal season. “Seven years in the Spanish case”, clarifies López Casasnovas.
Almost 1.3 million deaths in 81 countries
The results of the research, which have been published in the journal Scientific Reports , have been obtained by processing the data of 1,279,866 deaths registered in 81 countries . The work has been carried out by scientists from research centers and universities in various countries and is based on public data sources.
According to his calculations, the pandemic has taken more than 20.5 million years of life ahead just in these countries where the study has been carried out. Almost half of the years of life lost (44.9%) have occurred in individuals between 55 and 75 years of age; 30.2% in those under 55 and 25% in those over 75.
In addition, in countries that discriminated by gender in their death count, it has been found that the number of years of life lost by men has been much higher than that of women.
The authors attribute this great difference to three main questions: “Men comply with restrictions less, are more exposed to the virus due to their jobs, and also have other associated realities, such as a higher proportion of smokers, so they are more fragile” , explains Guillem López Casasnovas.
Difference between uncertainty and risk
For those people who continue to feed those “prejudices that try to minimize the problem” of the pandemic, despite figures such as those in his study, López Casasnovas differentiates between those who did it at first and those who continue to do so. “I think it may be justifiable who said it initially, because there was a lot of uncertainty.
Economists distinguish between uncertainty and risk. Uncertainty is when you cannot assign probabilities, because it is a completely new situation. But if there is risk, it is because you already have a history, and you can assign probabilities. Those who continue to maintain it after probabilities have been assigned, those have less forgiveness, “he emphasizes.