The health care restrictions brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic may have contributed to the rising incidence of mental health disorders and substance abuse, as well as thousands of additional deaths related to the virus, and have put pressure on Canada’s health care system. According to a study conducted by the Medical Association of Canada (CMA).

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Study suggests that delayed treatment or missed health care services due to pandemic restrictions could be a factor in more than 4,000 deaths unrelated to COVID-19 infection between August and December 2020 and also result in a significant backlog of medical procedures It is possible.

Excess death refers to the number of deaths exceeding the expected rate. The number of deaths in Canada from spring 2020 to early 2021 was higher than expected in winter, the study says, and the number of additional deaths was estimated to exceed the number of COVID-19 during most of the period between August and December. -19 deaths, though it was lower in subsequent months.


Statistics Canada published a report earlier this month showing that the pandemic resulted in 5.2 percent more deaths if it never happened.

“Over the past 20 months, COVID-19 has impacted our healthcare system and the consequences for the wider patient population are now clearly visible,” CMA President Dr. Katherine Smart said in a news release. “We are facing a significant backlog in procedures and treatments as well as more serious diseases.”

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Delayed procedures highlighted by the study were a lack of cancer screening in Ontario, some of which were halted at the start of the pandemic and apparently remained 20 to 35 percent below pre-pandemic levels earlier this year .

The study claims that there were approximately 17 opioid-related deaths per day in Canada in 2020, a 70 percent increase from the previous year. The rate increased to about 20 deaths per day in the first three months of 2021.

With regard to mental health, nearly 20 percent of Canadians reported a high level of anxiety at the start of the pandemic in April 2020, the study said, and that number had risen to 24 percent by June 2021. Over the same period, the number of Canadians reporting high levels of depression rose from 10 to 15 percent.

“The legacy of this pandemic, which still continues, will be felt for years to come,” Smart said. “We must start working now to keep the backlog problem from getting worse.”

The study estimated a backlog of eight procedures, including CT scans, MRI scans, knee replacement surgery and cataract surgery, with a total of 327,800 waiting to be performed nationwide. It said the days it took to perform these procedures ranged from 46 days for breast cancer surgery to 118 days for hip replacement surgery.

The study also calculated that the cost of returning wait times to pre-pandemic levels for these procedures would be $1.3 billion in additional funding for the health care system.

“The pandemic has exacerbated existing problems, including a health human resource crisis,” Smart said. “It will require significant effort and commitments to rebuild the health system and invest in our health workforce.”

Smart said she was pleased to see the federal government’s commitment to prioritizing investment in health reform and addressing the backlog as outlined in last week’s Throne speech.

For years, doctors and patients have been warning about the dangers of delaying cancer diagnosis: limited access To health care services During the COVID-19 pandemic.

Further research from Statistics Canada earlier this year showed that the number of drug overdoses and alcohol-related deaths among Canadians under the age of 65 was rising as a result of extended lockdowns and isolation during the pandemic.

Studies have also shown that the pandemic has significantly increased anxiety and depression around the world, especially among youth.