In The Public Square

[WATCH] In The Public Square with John Nery: The other ‘pandemic’

[WATCH] In The Public Square with John Nery: The other ‘pandemic’
Dr. Tony Leachon gives the lowdown on cardiovascular-related deaths during the COVID-19 pandemic

On Friday, February 24, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) released its report on the total number of deaths that occurred in the country in 2021. In the second year of the pandemic, a total of 879,429 deaths were recorded.

In contrast, the total for the year before, 2020, the start of the pandemic, was 613,936 deaths. The increase is staggering: the number of deaths in 2021 was 43.2% higher than the total in 2020. A quarter-million more people died; did they all die of COVID-19?

The data from the PSA is clear: Ischemic heart diseases remained the number one cause of death in the country, claiming 155,775 lives in 2021. The year before, ischemic heart diseases claimed 105,281 lives –meaning that the number of deaths from this cause rose by almost 50%, or 50,000.

Since the pandemic started in early 2020, Dr. Tony Leachon has been a constant source of both counsel and criticism. The former president of the Philippine College of Physicians even served as adviser to the national government’s coronavirus task force, until a very public breakup.

A specialist in internal medicine and cardiology, he has also consistently warned the public against the rise in the number of cardiovascular diseases and deaths.

In this episode of In The Public Square, veteran journalist and Rappler columnist John Nery talks to Leachon about the other “pandemic” – the cardiovascular-related deaths during the COVID-19 crisis.

Watch the interview with Leachon on Wednesday, March 1, at 8 pm. –