Report Shows Increased Deaths In Homeless By Drug Overdoses During Pandemic

In Brief

  • The Facts:
    • Twice as many homeless people died in San Francisco during the first year of the pandemic compared to 2019.

    • Vulnerable homeless populations have been increasing in number throughout the pandemic.

    • The main cause of death in these groups is drug overdose.

  • Reflect On:
    • What kind of consequences will be seen and what strain is going to be placed on the medical system due to increased issues in vulnerable homeless populations?

    • Without COVID policies and interventions would these populations have seen such an increase in death?

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A report out of San Francisco has shown that twice as many homeless people died in the first year of the pandemic than the previous year. None were recorded having died from COVID. The majority of the deaths were because of drug overdoses.

From Mar 17, 2020 to March 16 2021, there were 331 deaths, up from 147 the year before in the homeless population in San Francisco. When the city moved to a “shelter-in-place” order (lockdown) there was a spike in deaths, providing a signal that this COVID policy may be contributing to the increase in deaths. 

The report stated,

“No deaths in our data set were due to COVID-19 itself, which may speak to the success of San Francisco’s efforts to mitigate the spread of the virus in vulnerable populations, including by moving individuals at high risk into noncongregate settings.”

If twice as many people in a vulnerable population have died compared to the previous year, the increase is most likely due to the measures brought in to “protect” them.

There seems to be a lack of recognition of the serious damage COVID policies have caused in vulnerable populations, all under the guise that deaths would have been way worse had the policies not existed.  With lots of articles and information near the beginning of the pandemic predicting millions of lives saved because of lockdowns, this thought process is understandable. But the opposite happened and lockdowns were catastrophic.

Originally it was believed the death rate of those with COVID was going to be around 3 percent. It was also unknown how COVID spread. This information or lack thereof was being used in simulation models that were predicting outcomes for the spread of COVID, and  was what policy makers were using to make decisions.

With updated numbers that became available after a few months and what many independent media companies were trying to shine a light on, it was found that the survival rate for COVID is 99.97 or 99.98 percent with the majority of people dying with COVID having multiple comorbidities and other causes listed on the death certificate. Furthermore, the majority of people dying were more than 70 years old.

This is not to downplay the value of a life, it is to create a discussion around a proper risk / benefit assessment.

During this same time period in San Francisco there was a total of 533 deaths recorded of people that died with COVID in the entire city. Perhaps because more people had died of COVID than in the homeless population it can still feel justifiable to defend COVID policies.

However, in Canada, the province of British Columbia (B.C) saw more deaths from overdoses than COVID in 2021. With other provinces like Alberta, Saskachawan and Manatobia seeing record-breaking drug overdose deaths.

Below is a chart from the official B.C website that shows the major causes of death in each age group from 2020 to 2022.

The City of Edmonton has also seen the homeless population double since the pandemic started. 

So we have COVID policies put in place to supposedly help the medical system, which in turn may have had a strong hand in increasing the homeless populations. Then because of COVID policies we see that vulnerable homeless populations are now dying at an alarmly increased rate, mostly because of drug overdoses.

Those most suffering with addiction are young adults, meaning more people in society than ever before are dealing with the trauma and grief of losing loved ones to addiction.

The impact and strain on the medical system due to this is yet to be seen.

What is taking place has been one of the most catastrophic failures by policy makers if not the most catastrophic in history. It is already playing out but the ripple effect impact may not be fully understood or seen at least by the public for years.

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