A new study reveals that coronavirus is killing people more than ten years of their lives before they die of natural causes. On average, men lose 13 years, while women lose about 11 years of their life expectancy.
The deadly disease which has affected more than 2 million people around the world have a devastating impact comparable to heart disease, according to researchers from the Public Health Scotland and experts from the universities of Glasgow and Edinburgh.
It goes against the claims of many people that coronavirus patients will die anyway. Also, it flies in the face of authorities whose focus on the death of these patients is their underlying conditions and not the virus.
As most deaths recorded have been with the elderly, the Scottish research argues that many of those patients who died of the virus could have lived more years of their lives if they had not caught the virus. They also said that even people with long-term diseases or morbidities are losing years of their lives.
Years of life lost due to COVId-19
While media coverage focuses on the underlying health conditions of coronavirus patients, adjustment of number and type of long-term conditions only modestly reduces the estimated years of life lost due to COVID-19, according to Dr. David McAllister, the lead researcher of the study from the University of Glasgow.
Using the data of COVID-19 cases from Italy and a sliding scale from the World Health Organization that is used to calculate the number of years people would likely live, the researchers found that majority of people lose life-years to some conditions or theoretically avoidable factors other than COVID-19.
The Scottish researchers discovered from the data of people dying due to coronavirus that men lost, on average, 13 years and women 11 years. This result considers other health problems are taken into account.
According to the years-lost scale of the World Health Organization, a person aged 81 who died of COVID-19 has lost 14 years of his life. While those who died in their fifties without any underlying conditions has lost around 35.81 years.
Wide variability impact of the virus on the life of the patients
The wide variability in the impact of the virus on the life of the patients was due to the differences in the types of illnesses they had, said Dr. McAllister.
The Daily Mail reports that the study used in the research mainly focused on cases with diabetes, heart disease, irregular heartbeat, heart failure, stroke, high blood pressure, COPD, dementia, cancer, liver failure, and kidney disease.
Despite the patients having serious illnesses, the researchers found that those who died of COVID-19 could have substantial amounts of time they would otherwise have lived. Most of them would have lived more than 1-2 years more, according to some commentators.
According to the Scottish researchers, who focused on a study conducted among the patients in Italy, high blood pressure was the most common illness among people who died of COVID-19 with 73% of all fatalities.
It is followed by diabetes with 33%, heart disease with 27.8%, and irregular heartbeat with 23.7%. Among the patients dying of COVID-19, there seems to be a burden in terms of years of life lost with those who have coronary heart disease and pneumonia.
The researchers published their non-peer reviewed research on Wellcome Open Research.