In early 2020, there were bans on most social contact, international travel stopped, workplaces and schools shut. Lockdown had arrived. These policies may have limited the spread of the virus, but what collateral harms and benefits on physical health were there?
Despite recommendations to continue to seek help, normal healthcare endured severe disruption. In England, waiting lists for hospital treatment now exceed 5m, up more than 500,000 from before the pandemic. During the first wave, nearly 90,000 joint replacement surgeries were cancelled, leaving many struggling with pain. Cancer investigations and diagnoses fell and although there is no sign yet of any excess cancer deaths, this may only become apparent in subsequent years.
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