© Christopher Furlong / Getty Images
Doctors at St Johns Medical Centre take part in their daily planning meeting on April 13, 2020 in Altrincham, England.
New numbers came out Wednesday on COVID-19 death projections.

Except they weren't about deaths directly caused from getting infected with coronavirus. They were deaths caused by the lockdowns, by the secondary harms that now seem to be getting worse by the day.

Researchers at University College London are now projecting that 18,000 more people in the United Kingdom will die over the next 12 months than previously expected.

"Cancer deaths in the U.K. could rise by almost 20% over the next year as treatments are disrupted by the fight against the coronavirus pandemic, according to a new research paper," reports Bloomberg.

To put that 18,000 figure in context, at the time of this writing the number of people in the U.K. who have died directly as a result of having COVID-19 is above 26,000.

Is a similar phenomenon happening in Canada? Not only does common sense tell us that it likely is, but data is starting to come out to confirm it.

On Tuesday, Ontario's Financial Accountability Office (FAO) released a report estimating that the province has so far canceled or delayed as many as 52,700 hospital procedures and that the number increases by 12,200 every week.

This week Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott referenced a separate study with modelling that predicts so far 35 people awaiting cardiac surgery have already died in Ontario because of canceled procedures.

That's only in Ontario. And only cardiac surgery.

How high does the number climb if you include projections for all deaths caused by the postponement of the treatment of all serious ailments in every province? How high does it get if you go even further and include the number of suicides and heart attacks related to the economic and social pressures of the lockdown?

This is vital information that should be guiding our policymakers just as much as they are guided by the projections of COVID-19 cases. However, it's unclear if anyone in charge knows the answers to these questions.

The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (JCCF) has submitted letters to the federal and provincial Chief Medical Officers of Health asking a series of questions about these secondary harms.

"Have you created any models, estimates or projections in regard to any or all of these causes of illness, harm and death, in the same way that you have relied on models, estimates and projections in regard to COVID-19?" reads the final question in the letter, which is signed by lawyer and JCCF President John Carpay.

If the whole point of our response to COVID-19 is to minimize deaths, why would we only use certain death projections and not others?

We're certainly at the point now where it is very reasonable to ask whether or not the cure is proving worse than the disease.

If the number of deaths that occur as a result of the lockdowns comes anywhere close to matching the number of direct COVID-19 deaths, doesn't that tell us that the lockdowns themselves are a serious harm to public health?

Minister Elliott added on Tuesday that a number of hospitals and medical associations are actually saying that they now want to proceed with these postponed and cancelled surgeries. It's the government that's holding them back.

"We want to make sure we're not going to have increased pressures with COVID-19 cases before we can start opening up those surgeries," Elliott said on Tuesday.

But that FAO report appears to have answered that question. They found that, as of April 23, there were 9,345 empty acute-care beds and 2,191 empty critical care beds across Ontario, which is Canada's second hardest hit province.

We were originally told that the point of the lockdown was to guarantee we don't overwhelm the health care system. We haven't.

So what's the hold up on safely re-opening the Canadian economy? The secondary harms are getting worse by the day.