Nearly 75,000 people could die as a result of lockdown due to causes not related to Covid-19, research suggested.
Figures presented to the Government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) revealed that 16,000 people died as a result of chaos in hospitals and care homes in March and April.
According to the research, 26,000 more people could die if they do not seek urgent medical support when they are not feeling well and if problems in social care continue.
The document also said 31,900 people could die over the next five years due to missed cancer diagnoses, cancelled operations and the health impacts of a recession, the Daily Mail reports.
According to the study, up to 400,000 people could have died of Covid-19 if nothing had been done to stop the transmission of the virus in March.
The figures were drawn up by civil servants at the Department of Health, the Office for National Statistics and the Home Office.
The document was presented to Sage during a meeting on July 15.
It also added: “We estimate there were approximately 10,000 non-Covid-19 excess deaths of care home residents in March and April 2020… there could be an additional 16,000 non-Covid-19 excess deaths over 12 months in care home residents.”
The research found about 12,500 people could die because of cancelled operations and 1,400 because of missed cancer diagnoses over the next five years.
But officials also said restrictions could have a beneficial effect on other areas of life – such as air quality and road accidents – reducing deaths by about 1,000 per year.
They also estimated that 4,000 lives could be saved thanks to healthier lifestyles adopted by people.
An NHS spokesman said: “While some people had understandable concerns about coming forward for care during the pandemic, the NHS stayed opened to care for all who needed it.
“For every person with Covid that NHS hospitals treated during the first wave, clinicians were also treating two non-Covid inpatients as well as 200,000 receiving cancer treatment and GPs carrying out more than 102million consultations.”
The coronavirus lockdown in the UK was first introduced on March 23.
Since then, the Government kept the situation under control, gradually decreasing the restrictions.
But now, due to a spike in coronavirus cases, many places in the UK are facing new local lockdown restrictions, while others are on the watch list – meaning they also risk new meaures to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
Another study found that many people died from heart attacks and strokes during lockdown, resulting in 2,085 “excess deaths”.
Researcher Professor Chris Gale, a cardiologist at the University of Leeds, said: “These are deaths that should not have happened.
“We were in full lockdown and the message to stay at home was taken literally. People were not seeking care and many died as a result.
“The indirect death toll may well end up surpassing the direct toll of Covid.”
Dr Sonya Babu-Narayan, of the British Heart Foundation, added: “We need to restore and maintain care for heart and circulatory disease patients as a priority.”