Rosén M, Stenbeck M
Scand J Public Health - (-) 1403494820947974 [2020-08-25; online 2020-08-25]
Interventions to suppress the coronavirus pandemic have led to economic recession and higher unemployment, which will increase mortality and decrease quality of life. The aim of this article is to estimate the consequences on mortality and life expectancy of increased unemployment rates due to the coronavirus pandemic in Sweden and other countries. Based on recent increases and expected future unemployment rates due to the coronavirus pandemic, results from a systematic review and data from vital statistics in Sweden, the number of premature deaths due to unemployment in Sweden have been estimated. Based on our assumptions, the calculations show that if the number of unemployed persons in Sweden increases by 100,000, one may expect some 1800 more premature deaths during the following 9 years. If the duration of the recession is limited to 4 years, excess deaths due to unemployment may be around 800. On average, the unemployed will lose 2 years of their remaining life expectancy. In many other countries unemployment rates have or are estimated to rise more than in Sweden, sometimes two- or threefold, suggesting hundreds of thousands of excess deaths due to unemployment. Interventions to suppress the coronavirus pandemic include the shut-down of economic activities and lead to increased all-cause mortality. These public health effects must be considered in the decision-making process and should be added to overall estimates of the effects of the pandemic on public health.