40% of COVID-19 deaths were preventable, study says

Early adoption of mask wearing, physical distancing could have saved more lives, doctor says

A new report found that 40% of America’s COVID-19 deaths could have been prevented, the Lancet Commission on Public Policy and Health found that many people didn’t take the pandemic seriously at the beginning.

Commission co-chair Dr. Steffie Woolhandler says public health measures such as mask wearing and physical distancing could have saved lives.

However, Woodhandler says former President Donald Trump failed to create a national response, instead leaving crucial decisions to states.

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But that was only part of the problem, the commission says America’s poor health system also contributed to deaths.

They say life expectancy in the U.S. has been trailing other industrialized nations for decades. In fact, the report found that 461,000 fewer Americans would have died in 2018 if the U.S. mortality rates matched those in Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the UK.

The commission suggested several actions to fix the health problems including adopting a single-payer health system like Medicare for all.