Only old and weak die from coronavirus. politician Boris Palmer had also made similar comments. However, an analysis by the NDR shows that many who died from Corona would have lived for a long time.
The discussion about easing the measures against the spread of the coronavirus has become a hardened fight for opinion. It is often claimed what is politically appropriate – even if there is no scientific evidence for it. Opponents of the restrictions make the argument, for example, that the virus is only a danger to people who are already very old and sick – and therefore only have a short life to live anyway.
Years of life lost compared to normal life expectancy
|federal state||Male||Female||Male (corr. *)||Female (corr. *)|
* corrected for the impact of pre-existing conditions according to the haircuts in the British study
With the help of a statistical calculation, it can be estimated how many years of life a person who died in Germany and was diagnosed with the coronavirus actually lost – i.e. how much longer he or she would have lived on average without the disease. A corresponding analysis by the NDR comes to the conclusion that this value nationwide is 10.7 years for men and 9.3 years for women.
Bremen men lost 15 years of life
These numbers are based on the average life expectancy in Germany and the mean values of the ages of the 6115 corona patients that the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) had recorded until April 29. There are major regional differences: In Bremen, for example, a deceased male corona patient lost an average of more than 15 years, a female a little over seven.
Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania is the only federal state in which women have lost more years on average (13.9) than men (12.3). Such differences are also due to the fact that the database is relatively small in the less populated federal states: In Bremen, for example, only about 30 corona patients have died, so individuals who have died particularly young or old can make a greater difference.
Researchers also calculate previous illnesses
The calculations are based on the results of a research group from the University of Glasgow in Great Britain, who analyzed the loss of life of Covid-19 victims for a study on the basis of data from Italy and Great Britain. They even calculated slightly higher values of 14 years for men and 12 years for women.
The scientists also incorporated the effects of previous illnesses into their mathematical model. The calculated number was reduced by about a year. Men who died with a positive corona diagnosis therefore died prematurely by 13 years, women by eleven years.
Germany’s previous illnesses are also losing their lives
If one transfers the assumptions published in the British study for the effects of previous illnesses on Germany, the death of Covid-19 still results in a loss of 9.9 years for men and 8.5 years for women in Germany. Many corona patients who had previous illnesses also died much earlier than would have been expected statistically.
In Germany, you can live for many years with a pre-existing disease, which is common among those who have died of corona, says Clemens Wendtner, chief physician of the Department of Infectology at the University Hospital in Munich-Schwabing. “You don’t necessarily die earlier from many comorbidities such as high blood pressure, diabetes or dementia.”
He considers the results of the study from Great Britain to be “realistic”. The deaths known to him in connection with the corona pandemic “would have had a very good life expectancy without Covid-19,” Wendtner told the NDR . Even with a heart attack, you can still live well. “This enables modern medicine.”
Analysis disproves Palmer’s statements
The debate about the loss of years of life had picked up speed, among other things, after the Mayor of Tubingen Boris Palmer said on Sat.1 breakfast television: “We may save people in Germany who would be dead in six months anyway.” The Greens politician was then criticized, among other things, by his own party . He is now even threatened with a party exclusion procedure
The study by the British researchers and the analysis by the NDR show: Palmer’s statement may apply to a few individual cases, but it is not true for the majority of patients.
The scientists in Glasgow write that almost every single deceased person has lost more than a year or two of life, even if one takes previous illnesses into account. On average, it was more than a decade. Munich chief physician Clemens-Martin Wendtner, who has treated more than 700 corona patients himself, therefore warns: “Statements such as those by Boris Palmer are an absolute trivialization of the action.”