Alcohol has been associated with up to 40% trauma-related deaths globally. In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, the United Kingdom (UK) entered a state of ‘lockdown’ on 23rd March 2020. Restrictions were most significantly eased on 1st June 2020, when shops and schools re-opened. This study aimed to quantify the effect of lockdown on trauma admissions specifically regarding alcohol-related trauma.
All adult patients admitted as ‘trauma calls’ to a London Major Trauma Centre (MTC) during April 2018 and April 2019 (pre-lockdown; N=316), and 1st April – 31st May 2020 (lockdown; N=191) had electronic patient records (EPR) analysed. Patients’ blood alcohol level (BAC) combined with records of intoxication were used to identify alcohol-related trauma. Multiple regression analyses were performed to compare pre- and post-lockdown alcohol-related trauma admissions.
Alcohol-related trauma was present in a significantly higher proportion of adult trauma calls during lockdown (lockdown 60/191 (31.4%), versus pre-lockdown 62/316 (19.6%); Odds Ratio (OR 0.83, 95% CI 0.38 to 1.28, p<0.001). Lockdown was also associated with increased weekend admissions of trauma (lockdown 125/191 weekend (65.5%) vs pre-lockdown 179/316 (56.7%); OR -0.40, 95% CI -0.79 to -0.02, p=0.041). No significant difference existed between the age, gender, or mechanism between pre-lockdown and lockdown cohorts (p>0.05).
UK lockdown was independently associated with an increased proportion of alcohol-related trauma. Furthermore, trauma admissions were increased during the weekend when staffing levels are reduced. With the possibility of multiple global ‘waves’ of Covid-19, the risk of long-term repercussions of dangerous alcohol-related behaviour must be addressed.