COVID-19 deaths during pandemic were higher on weekends than weekdays, global study finds | world news

COVID deaths during the pandemic have been higher on weekends than on weekdays, a global study has found.

Experts from the University of Toronto in Canada analyzed all deaths reported to the World Health Organization’s COVID-19 database between March 7, 2020 and March 7, 2022.

Researchers said the average number of coronavirus deaths worldwide was 6% higher on weekends compared to weekdays – 8,532 compared to 8,083 – throughout the pandemic.

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The results, which will be presented at this year’s European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (ECCMID) event in Portugal later this month, suggest the UK recorded an average of 239 deaths over the weekend. -end against 215 during the week, an increase of 11%.

The United States recorded an average of 1,483 deaths on weekends compared to 1,220 on weekdays, an increase of 22%, and Brazil recorded an average of 1,061 deaths on weekends compared to 823 on weekdays, an increase by 29%.

Further analysis that looked at the average number of COVID deaths on certain days of the week found the increase was particularly large when comparing Sunday to Monday – 8,850 versus 7,219 deaths – and Friday to Monday – 9,086 against 7,219.

“This problem is not getting better despite awareness”

One of the researchers, Dr Fizza Manzoor, said delays in reporting weekend deaths do not fully explain the differences between different countries, with Germany reporting fewer average weekend deaths ( 137) compared to weekdays (187).

Dr Manzoor said: “Bureaucratic delays at weekends alone do not explain why there are fewer documented COVID-19 deaths on Mondays compared to Fridays, and reporting delays alone cannot explain why the increase in weekend deaths was so large in the United States and not seen in Germany.

“Instead, the ‘weekend effect’ is also likely to be due to shortages of clinical staff, capacity and experience. Moreover, our findings suggest that this issue is not resolving despite improved health system performance and awareness during the pandemic. .

“There is an opportunity for health systems to further improve clinical care every day of the week.”

The researchers added that they accept the conclusions of the study, which was peer-reviewed, may be limited by false negative results, missed cases and data entry errors, and that the available data does not hold. do not take into account the severity of the disease or do not explore the impact of local diseases. public health policies and interventions in each country.

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Edward L. Robinett