The shutdown is killing people. Some estimates of ‘excess deaths’ from the lockdown.

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

The comment that shutting down the economy represents a trade-off of lives versus jobs is an invalid comparison.

The real trade-off from a shutdown is lives versus lives.

People are dying because of the shutdown. The shutdown is killing people.

It is time to open the economy.

I don’t have time to summarize all the articles I have read making this point. Here are just three examples.

The pandemic is killing dementia patients

Washington Post – 9/16/20 – Pandemic isolation has killed thousands of Alzheimer’s patients while families watch from afar – The Washington Post, the Post, studied data from CDC to identify there have been 13,200 excess deaths from Alzheimer’s and dementia since the shutdown started. Excess deaths are the extra deaths over the number that would otherwise be expected because of some particular situation.

In this case it would be the number of people dying from Alzheimer’s greater than all be expected otherwise. In other words, how many people killed by the lockdown.

Article tells the tragic story of one man who could no longer provide full-time care for his wife. She was maintaining weight and still recognized people before the pandemic hit. He visited her every day, fed her lunch, and combed her hair.

Since then this poor husband has not been able to touch his wife, to include even holding her hand. He can shout at her through a closed glass door.

Since the isolation started she has lost 16 pounds, does not seem to recognize either her husband or children, and has apparently lost even the ability to sit up. She merely slumps in her wheelchair like a bag of flour. Staff report they have to encourage her to open her mouth to receive food. He can see visually that she has lost years off her life expectancy.

Isolation kills.

The impact is worse for dementia patients. Article says that physical contact, visiting with loved ones, and mental stimulation are the rare tools that seem to have an impact in slowing the continuing decline of dementia.

Several individual dementia patients are described in terms of their deteriorating condition. One woman who could still communicate describes a self-awareness that she can no longer communicate in whole sentences. She is aware she is disintegrating.

Isolation kills.

The shutdown is driving overdose deaths

Wall Street Journal – 9/8/20 – The Opioid Crisis, Already Serious, Has Intensified During Coronavirus Pandemic – Number of drug overdose deaths is accelerating during the pandemic.

Anyone trying to maintain sobriety or get treatment is under severe pressure. Isolation undermines sobriety. Dramatic drop in available treatment options means people have to go it alone, which is a shaky solution to an addiction problem.

Anecdotal reports are rolling in from health officials and treatment providers that abuse is increasing. Survey by CDC in June suggested 13% of people responding have either increased their substance abuse or started to abuse since the pandemic started.

Modern journalism require a specific example to illustrate a story like this. Illustration here is a person who was released from prison on parole shortly after the pandemic started. He could not get into an appointment with a treatment counselor. The support groups he wanted to attend were no longer meeting in person, meaning a huge portion of the value of a recovery group was lost. On-line groups made him anxious.

This guy, who wanted to get his life together, died of an opioid overdose on April 7.

Twenty-one of 30 counties that responded to a WSJ survey reported overdose deaths are increasing compared to a year prior. In Los Angeles County overdose deaths were up 40% in the first 45 days of the pandemic compared to the prior year. In Franklin County Ohio, overdose deaths by the end of August are equal to the total number in 2019.

The shutdown kills.

 Excess deaths from heart attacks

The Washington Post – 7/2/20 – Heart conditions drove spike in deaths beyond those attributed to Covid-19, analysis shows – Discussion above describes the concept of excess deaths. That is the number of deaths occurring that is greater than what would otherwise be expected. Usually there is a specific underlying cause that can be identified driving the excess deaths.

The Post analyzed federal data and identified 8,300 more deaths due to heart troubles in New York City and five states during March through May beyond historical averages.

Total excess deaths in Illinois, Massachusetts, New York State, Michigan, and New Jersey are 75,000. Article says that’s more than the number of Covid deaths up to that point.

Head of the cardiovascular surgery department at one Manhattan hospital looked at the data and concluded there’s at least 50 excess deaths a day from heart disease in New York City by itself. Those excess deaths are consistent with the drastic drop in patients in heart care units.

The shutdown is a trade off of deaths for deaths.

Avoiding medical treatment because of a panic kills.

The shutdown kills.

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