Life expectancy dropped the most in Spain and the United States, the group said, with the United States having lost an average of 1.6 years of life per capita during the year-and-a-half of the pandemic, and Spain 1.5 year, according to the OECD. .
“COVID 19 contributed directly and indirectly to a 16% increase in projected deaths in 2020 and the first half of 2021 in all OECD countries,” the group said in its report.
The report found little change in which countries enjoy the longest relative life expectancy. “Japan, Switzerland and Spain lead a large group of 27 OECD countries where life expectancy at birth exceeded 80 years in 2019,” the report reads.
“A second group, including the United States and some Central and Eastern European countries, had a life expectancy between 77 and 80 years. Mexico and Latvia had the lowest life expectancy, at less than 76 years.” Life expectancy has increased over the past century, although that growth has slowed in recent years and the pandemic has had an acute effect.
“COVID 19 has disproportionately affected vulnerable populations. More than 90% of recorded COVID 19 deaths occurred among people over 60. There was also a clear social gradient, with underprivileged people, those living in deprived areas and most ethnic minorities and immigrants at higher risk of infection and death,” the report added.
The OECD, which groups wealthy and medium-sized countries, and whose reports set a number of international standards for comparing spending, living standards, health outcomes and other national targets, regularly publishes reports that attempt to unravel how health expenditure affects outcomes such as cancer care and overall life expectancy. .
This year’s report shows that the death rate from Covid-19 in the US was close to the OECD average.
The group, whose members include India, Indonesia, Japan, Switzerland and the US, analyzed Covid-19 death rates to find 1,824 Covid-19 deaths per 1 million population in 2020 and the first half of 2021 for the US. The US had 13,197 Covid-19 cases per 100,000 people – higher than the OECD average. In addition, the US has about average vaccination coverage, with 55% of the population fully vaccinated at the time of writing the report.
The UK had 2,232 Covid-19 deaths per million inhabitants, 11,608 Covid-19 cases per 100,000 inhabitants and a vaccination rate of 66%. Japan had 117 Covid-19 deaths per 1 million population, 1,347 Covid-19 cases per 100,000 population and a vaccination rate of 61.2%. Canada had 699 Covid-19 deaths per 1 million population, 4,347 Covid-19 cases per 100,000 population and a vaccination rate of 71.2%.
Pandemic Increases Global Rates of Depression, Anxiety
The report found a large increase in certain mental illnesses with the pandemic.
“The mental health impact of the pandemic has been enormous, with pre-crisis prevalence of anxiety and depression more than double in most countries with available data, particularly in Mexico, the United Kingdom and the United States. “, it said.
“The prevalence of anxiety and depression in early 2020 was double or more than in previous years in a number of countries, including Belgium, France, the United Kingdom and the United States,” it added.
“In France, the United Kingdom and the United States, the prevalence of symptoms of anxiety and depression increased during periods when there were peaks in COVID 19 infections and deaths, and when there were heightened containment measures,” the report said. from public health departments in France and the UK and the US National Center for Health Statistics.
“The mental health impact of the pandemic has been particularly severe on the physicians, nurses, long-term care providers and other health professionals working in close proximity to patients,” the organization said in its report.
“Health workers have reported high rates of anxiety, depression, burnout and employee turnover since the start of the pandemic,” the report said.
“In the United States, a survey of frontline health professionals found that more than three-fifths (62%) reported that the stress or worry about COVID 19 negatively affected their mental health, and nearly half (49%) reported that the stress had affected their health. physical health,” it adds. “Nearly a third of respondents said they needed or had needed mental health care because of the pandemic.”
And nurses may be more affected than doctors. “A survey of 33 national nursing associations found that three-fifths reported receiving occasional or regular reports from nurses about mental health problems related to the pandemic,” the report added, citing a survey conducted by the International Council of Nurses.
“In a survey of the workforce in the European Union, 70% of workers in the health sector – more than any other sector of the workforce – report that they believe their job puts them at risk of COVID 19 infection” , the report said. is reading.
“In a March 2020 survey of health professionals in Italy, almost half (49%) showed symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder and a quarter of symptoms of depression. Frontline workers were significantly more likely to have post-traumatic stress disorder than those who did not report having COVID 19 patients were working,” it added.
“An April 2020 survey of health professionals in Spain found that nearly three-fifths of respondents had symptoms of anxiety (59%) and/or post-traumatic stress disorder (57%), with nearly half (46%) showing symptoms. Kingdom), nearly half of respondents to the NHS (National Health Service) staff survey (44%) reported feeling unwell due to work-related stress in the previous year, up 9% from 2019.”
Pandemic also causes spike in health care spending
The pandemic caused a spike in health spending in many of the organization’s 38 member countries, the report found.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a sharp increase in health expenditure in the OECD. Coupled with a decline in economic activity, average health expenditure relative to GDP (gross domestic product) has increased from 8.8% in 2019 to 9.7% in 2020, in OECD countries with available data.
Countries hit hard by the pandemic reported unprecedented increases. The United Kingdom estimated an increase from 10.2% in 2019 to 12.8% in 2020, while Slovenia expected its share of healthcare spending to increase from 8. .5% to more than 10%,” the report said. is reading.
The ratio for the US was by far the highest for the entire OECD in 2019, at 16.8% of GDP, but a figure was not available for 2020. “With the onset of the COVID 19 pandemic, the first data for 2020 indicate on a sharp increase in total health expenditure, averaging about 5.1%,” the report reads.
And the US continued to lead in terms of overall health spending. “The United States spends significantly more than any other country (nearly $11,000 per person, adjusted for purchasing power, in 2019),” the report reads. In comparison, Japan spends an average of $4,691 per person on health care and the UK $4,500.
Health care expenditures per capita are also high in Switzerland, Norway and Germany.
Seven countries spend, on average, much less per person on health care, but have above-average life expectancy, the report said. “These seven countries are Italy, Korea, Portugal, Spain, Slovenia, Greece and Israel,” the report said. “The only country in the lower right quadrant is the United States, with much higher spending than all other OECD countries, but a lower life expectancy than the OECD average.”