Culture Wars/Current Controversies

The 75,000 deaths the lockdowners forgot

By Tom Woods

How about that:

Locking down a whole society has negative consequences.

Benjamin Miller of the Well Being Trust in Oakland, California, is co-author of a study that seeks to determine how many “deaths of despair” (from drug or alcohol abuse or suicide) will occur as a result of the pandemic.

Their estimate: about 75,000.

To be sure, some of this has to do with anxiety about the virus itself, but according to the study it’s also related (obviously) to the unprecedented shutdown, extremely high unemployment, and months-long social isolation with (in many places) no clear end point.

Miller says it’s crucial that people be allowed to get back to work. “People have to be working and we have to get people connected to other people,” he said.

Dr. Elie Aoun, vice chairman of the American Psychiatric Association’s Council on Addiction Psychiatry, said that this result, while shocking, wasn’t surprising: “I’ve been seeing this in practices and my colleagues have been talking about it, too.”

Aoun said social isolation has more consequences for the many vulnerable patients who suffer from depression, anxiety and addiction.

“Addiction patients are relapsing, and a lot of patients who don’t have drug use or alcohol problems are drinking more now, sometimes every day from 4 or 5 p.m., and they don’t stop until they sleep,” he said.

You don’t need me to tell you that this is very bad news.

The good news: more and more people are hearing about these effects of the lockdown. Heck, even CBS News ran a story about this study.

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