The Effects of India’s COVID-19 Lockdown on Critical Non-COVID Health Care and Outcomes
India’s COVID-19 lockdown is widely believed to have disrupted critical health services, but its effect on non-COVID health outcomes is largely unknown. Comparing mortality trends among dialysis patients in the eight months around the lockdown with the previous year, we document a 64% increase in mortality between March and May 2020 and an estimated 22-25% total excess mortality through July 2020. The mortality increase is greater among females and disadvantaged groups. Barriers to transportation and disruptions in hospital services appear to be the main drivers of increased morbidity and mortality. The results highlight the unintended consequences of the lockdown on critical and life-saving non-COVID health services that must be taken into account in the implementation of future policy efforts to control the spread of pandemics.