Will Cancer Deaths Rise or Fall in 2020?

Persons who are currently living with a diagnosis of cancer have an increased risk of death, if they contract COVID-19. This suggests that some persons who would have died of cancer later this year, instead may die from Covid, reducing the number of cancer deaths. Then some of those persons who would have died from cancer next year, or within a few years are also instead dying of Covid this year. So the effect would seem to be a reduction in cancer deaths for a few years.

The other effect on the statistics is that some cancer patients are apparently not getting their usual treatments. Perhaps they are afraid to go to the hospital, so they are opting out of chemo. Or perhaps the usual resources they would use are not available. And this might increase the number of cancer deaths this year, but decrease the cancer deaths of subsequent years (as some persons are dying sooner than they otherwise would from cancer).

A similar effect would apply to heart disease. Persons with cardiovascular disease (CVD) are more likely to die of Covid-19, so the number of deaths from CVD should be down for this year and a few years. Then again, the same problem with limited access to healthcare resources might increase the number of deaths from CVD this year.

And the same is true also to other top causes of death. COVID-19 is likely to cause an upset in the usual pattern of morbidity and mortality for all causes of death. Even “getting hit by a bus” deaths would be reduced, due to the shutdown. A report in Chicago says that murder is down 8.9% for April 2020 in that city, as compared to the same month last year. This could be an overall pattern across the nation, or the world: This story says “Crime Drops Around the World as COVID-19 keeps people inside.”.

The pandemic is having a vast effect on life and death across the planet.

Even so, this is not yet the End Times. This is not yet the Apocalypse or the tribulation. This event is merely preparatory, so that people will store up food and supplies, so that they will become accustomed to grave adversity. Things are going to get a lot worse, people, a lot worse.

Ronald L. Conte Jr.

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