Lockdowns increased undiagnosed cancer, shuttered businesses, was disastrous policy, studies show
Farmers Forum staff
OTTAWA — A lot of cancer went undiagnosed during the first year of the COVID pandemic as Canadian policy makers and politicians allowed primary care and screening services to wither during their obsession with COVID-19.
In 2020, new cancer case diagnoses dropped a whopping 12.3 % from annual cases over the previous five years, according to recent Statistics Canada data that has been seized upon by the Canadian Cancer Survivor Network (CCSN). StatCan acknowledges that screening service disruptions, difficulties accessing primary care services, and fewer in-person appointments due to lockdowns and travel restrictions all contributed to the decline.
That decline doesn’t mean there were fewer cancers in the population. It means fewer cancers were being caught. “As a result, many Canadians are being given a late cancer diagnosis and, sadly, this will result in more individuals dying of cancer, all because we were too cautious during the pandemic. Sadly, there will be fewer survivors,” CCSN President Jackie Manthorne said in a June 7 press release.
“Some Canadian patients believe that they have been thrown under the bus,” Manthorne said. “The frustrating part is that the CCSN knew it didn’t have to be this way.”
The organization promoted the hashtag #cancercantwait from the earliest days of the pandemic and now decries what it deems “an avoidable outcome.” Said Manthorne: “During prolonged lock-down periods we knew many Canadians would be at risk and some would be denied access to timely diagnosis and treatment.”
StatCan’s Cancer incidence in Canada 2020 report counted 140,330 new cancer cases in 2020, down 12.3% from the 2015-19 period. The four most commonly diagnosed cancer types – breast, lung and bronchus, prostate, and colorectal cancers – were all lower than expected. Similar data has recently been reported in the United States National Cancer Database.
Undiagnosed cancer is just one in a litany of examples of how pandemic restrictions did much more harm than good, as recently concluded by researchers at Johns Hopkins University and Sweden’s Lund University. Their updated, peer-reviewed study found that lockdowns “had negligible (positive) health effects but disastrous economic, social and political costs to society,” according to the authors. “Most likely lockdowns represent the biggest policy mistake in modern times.”
Western countries continue to grapple with the mental-health and drug-abuse impacts of lockdown policies, educational setbacks in children and vast economic consequences like inflation and huge government deficits today. By early 2022, only 35 % of small businesses had returned to normal revenues, according to the Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses, while estimating that 225,000 businesses would not survive.
In a meta-analysis study, researchers for the England-based Institute of Economic Affairs found that lockdowns prevented only 4,000 COVID deaths in the United States in 2020, a response that was clearly overkill when compared to the 38,000 American deaths occurring in a typical flu season. Modelling at the time predicted over 2 million lives would be saved in the U.S.
Earlier this year, the Vancouver-based Fraser Institute think tank reported that the combined effects of lockdowns barely reduced mortality and “amounted to almost nothing.”
The report noted that “The costs of lockdown go far beyond the lost GDP. In areas like worldwide food insecurity, international trade reductions, reduced travel, increased domestic violence, increased drug/alcohol/mental health issues, and employment disruptions, we are only aware of the costs and no estimates have yet been made of the level of these costs.”
The UK’s former top doctor, Sally Davies — the British version of Canada’s top doctor Theresa Tam — held back tears as she apologized June 20 for the damage children endured during lockdowns. Davies was testifying at a national UK inquiry into the pandemic response.