Czech scientists: thousands of people died unnecessarily during Covid pandemic

Photo: Ľubomír Smatana, Czech Radio

Czech scientists from the initiative Sníh or Snow say thousands of people in the Czech Republic died unnecessarily during the Covid-19 pandemic. They also estimate that the country’s inhabitants have lost in total 90,000 years of life. The Czech initiative is part of the global John Snow Memorandum, which calls for a science-based approach to the pandemic.

Photo: ČTK / Václav Pancer

According to the latest data released by the Czech Statistics Office, the number of people who died between March and November of this year is 7,500 higher than the five-year average for the given period. During the first week of November, 4,135 people died in the country, which is double the five-year average.

Demographer Dagmar Dzúrová from Charles University’s Faculty of Life Sciences, who is one of the members of the newly established initiative Snow, says Covid-19-related deaths have shortened the lives of more than 9,500 people and many others will suffer lifelong negative effects as a result of the illness.

Dagmar Dzúrová,  photo: Faculty of Science on the Charles University in Prague

Demographers have also calculated that by the end of the year, the life expectancy of Czechs will decrease for the first time in half a century. While the  life expectancy of Czech men will drop on average by about 1.15 years, that of women will decrease by almost one year.

Jaromír Šrámek, president of the Czech Club of Sceptics and a member of the initiative told Czech Television, it is hard to say how many people died as a direct result of Covid-19.

"It is hard to say whether they were direct victims who died of the illness or whether they were indirect victims. Covid-19 has pushed Czech hospitals to the brink of their capacity.

"Many elective surgeries had to be postponed and many people were afraid to go to the doctor. These people were also victims of the epidemic, although they didn’t die of Covid."

Scientists from the newly established initiative Snow say the government's current compromise strategy will lead to the country struggling with the pandemic for longer and call for a  more decisive and effective approach to the problem.

According to Martin Kubek, president of the Czech Medical Chamber, every day with relaxed anti-Covid measures will be paid for by several days in quarantine in the New Year.

Jaromír Šrámek,  photo: Jana Přinosilová,  Czech Radio

Jaromír Šrámek says the goal of the initiative is to provide a discussion platform for scientists from different fields and also to fight coronavirus-related fake news:

"One of the most serious fake news, which has been spreading since the start of the year, is that it’s no more than a cold. New disinformation concerns the development of the vaccine, where its side effects are hugely exaggerated. I think the Czech state has failed in providing sufficient explanation."

The John Snow Memorandum is named after 19th-century British physician John Snow, the founder of epidemiology. To this day, it has been signed by dozens of Czech and Slovak scientists, including biochemist and vice-rector of Charles University Jan Konvalinka or molecular immunologist Václav Hořejší from the Institute of Molecular Genetics of the Czech Academy of Sciences.