Far from the cable studios, happily, researchers are seeking a more serious understanding of the pandemic’s toll. One study finds that those who died of Covid-19 lost on average 9.3 years of life, equal to the remaining life expectancy of a 78-year-old.
The highest-cost deaths, it follows, were likely those not directly caused by the illness. In separate studies, U.S. government and Virginia Commonwealth University researchers say a third of “excess deaths” might fall into this category—delayed medical care, unemployment stress, substance abuse, suicide, depression, etc. One study looked at the effect of unemployment and predicted 30,231 additional deaths over a 12-month period.
What does this mean? Suppose half of these were unrecognized Covid deaths. Even so, the remaining half—accounting for 15% of excess deaths—would have to be no younger than 53 on average for fully one-third of the years lost in the pandemic to have been lost by somebody who didn’t die of Covid.