By ‘The naked Emperor‘ in Scotland
We have all read the stories of athletes having heart problems and healthy youngsters dying suddenly. But are these cases just getting more publicity, or are more young people dying today than three years ago?
The short answer is yes. Youngsters are having more heart attacks, in Scotland anyway. Public Health Scotland provides a handy dashboard to keep track of such events.
When comparing all-age weekly cardiovascular cases in out of hours services from 2018 to 2019 with 2020 to 2021, we get the following graph. The green dashed line is the 2018-2019 average. The solid black line is 2020-2022.
The number of cases was almost identical until June 2021, when the numbers began to diverge.
In June 2021 the difference was approximately 10% higher than average which rose to 30-40% higher. By December 2021 the number of cases was over 55% higher than average and the last date recorded in February 2022 was approximately 50% higher.
However, not all age groups contribute to the increase in cases. Most age groups have been relatively stable the whole time with only the youngest (15-44) showing a substantial increase. What changed in June 2021 that could have altered the annual trend?
The first thing that may have caused the increase is delayed effects from lockdowns. Delayed care, a reduction in exercise, anxiety and stress could have had delayed effects. However, lockdowns hit the poorest the hardest so maybe this would show up in the data?
Comparing the most deprived (blue line) versus the least deprived (green line) we see the change for the most deprived has been relatively steady throughout. However, the least deprived saw a big jump mid 2021 and has been on an upward trend since.
The other factors that could have caused the increases are Covid and vaccines. If it was Covid then why did the big increases not happen until mid-2021? Delayed effects or a new variant? If that was the case then why did it not affect other age groups?
Most people in the 15-44 age group (especially the older end of that group) would have had their first dose by June 2021 and would have been moving on to their second. The only logical conclusion is that vaccines caused the change in trend – unless anyone has any other ideas?