The collateral damage of the pandemic response was “substantial, wide-ranging and will leave behind a legacy of harm for hundreds of millions of people”, a major new study has found.
Reviewing and synthesising 600 publications focused on the impact of the pandemic response, Dr. Kevin Bardosh of the Universities of Washington and Edinburgh concluded that these wide and deep societal harms “should challenge the dominant mental model of the pandemic response”.
The abstract provides a succinct summary of the study, which is currently in pre-print:
Early in the Covid pandemic concerns were raised that lockdown and other non-pharmaceutical interventions would cause significant multidimensional harm to society. This paper comprehensively evaluates the global state of knowledge on these adverse social impacts, with an emphasis on their type and magnitude during 2020 and 2021. A harm framework was developed spanning 10 categories: health, economy, income, food security, education, lifestyle, intimate relationships, community, environment and governance. The analysis synthesises 600 publications with a focus on meta-analyses, systematic reviews, global reports and multi-country studies. This cumulative academic research shows that the collateral damage of the pandemic response was substantial, wide-ranging and will leave behind a legacy of harm for hundreds of millions of people in the years ahead.
Many original predictions are broadly supported by the research data including: a rise in non-Covid excess mortality, mental health deterioration, child abuse and domestic violence, widening global inequality, food insecurity, lost educational opportunities, unhealthy lifestyle behaviours, social polarisation, soaring debt, democratic backsliding and declining human rights. Young people, individuals and countries with lower socioeconomic status, women and those with pre-existing vulnerabilities were hit hardest.