Increased unemployment from the COVID-19 pandemic, what might be the adverse impacts on cardiovascular disease in Aotearoa/New Zealand and how might this be prevented?

N Z Med J. 2020 Dec 4;133(1526):89-98.


Despite success with eliminating the COVID-19 pandemic in Aotearoa New Zealand (at least to early August 2020), the response to the pandemic threat has resulted in a range of negative social and economic impacts, including job losses. Understanding the health consequences of these impacts will be increasingly important in the 'recovery' phase. This article contributes to this understanding by exploring the relationship between unemployment and cardiovascular disease (CVD)-a major contributor to health loss in Aotearoa New Zealand. We reviewed the literature about the impact of unemployment on CVD. The totality of the evidence suggested that increased unemployment arising from economic shocks is associated with increased CVD incidence, particularly for middle-aged men. Continued monitoring and active policy responses are required to prevent increases in CVD (and other health outcomes) as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic response. For example, quantifying the CVD-related health loss from pandemic-associated unemployment, along with the health costs and impact on health inequalities, could help with government decision-making to reduce CVD burdens. This could be via intensifying tobacco control, regulating the food supply (eg, to reduce salt/sodium levels), and improving uptake of CVD preventive medications such as statins and anti-hypertensives.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • COVID-19 / epidemiology*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / mortality
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Female
  • Health Policy*
  • Healthcare Disparities
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • New Zealand / epidemiology
  • Pandemics*
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Unemployment / statistics & numerical data*