Jeffrey Rosenthal, professor at the U of T Department of Statistical Sciences, brought his statistical expertise to the largest known study worldwide of non-natural deaths (including homicides, suicides, and accidents) to measure the effects of lockdowns in Ontario. A co-investigator on this study, Rosenthal helped identify pre-existing trends over the past decade in Ontario and highlighted deviations from these trends during the various stages of lockdowns in 2020.
The results are interpreted and reported reflecting the American Statistical Association's (ASA) statement on statistical significance and p-values, and current recommendations (i.e. p-values interpreted as a spectrum versus dichotomous significance determined solely based on using a specified p-value). This is of particular importance in the context of this study, as the ASA states that scientific conclusions and business or policy decisions should not be based only on whether a p-value passes a specific threshold.
Researchers demonstrate how COVID-19 and lockdowns escalated drug-related deaths
February 17, 2022, by U of T Laboratory Medicine & Pathobiology
As we have progressed through multiple waves of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ontario provincial government used four lockdowns to slow the spread of the virus in 2020.
Lockdowns have no doubt saved countless lives from COVID-19, but what were the unintended consequences? Researchers at the University of Toronto have conducted the largest known study worldwide of non-natural deaths (including homicides, suicides, and accidents) to measure the effects of lockdowns in Ontario. “Over 4,000 COVID deaths were reported in 2020, but we also saw over 1,500 more accidental drug-related deaths than predicted – the sheer magnitude of this effect was unanticipated, but clearly must be considered by policymakers moving forward,” says study lead Dr. Jennifer M. Dmetrichuk.
An Assistant Professor in the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology and a Forensic Pathologist with the Ontario Forensic Pathology Service (OFPS), Dmetrichuk was surprised by the results of the study.
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