COVID-19 lockdowns are killing thousands of Americans
The hysteria drummed up by the mainstream media over COVID-19, in conjunction with the draconian lockdown measures being employed by many governors, is costing thousands of American lives. In light of horrific job losses and a crashing economy, calls to suicide hotlines are up over 40 percent nationwide. Although an increase in suicide calls does not necessarily translate to an increase in deaths, the fact that 132 Americans die by suicide daily is concerning. A 40-percent uptick would mean an increase of 53 deaths per day, if the calls indeed correlate to suicides. This translates to 1,590 deaths per month.
Heart attacks are a major problem as well. Harlan M. Krumholz, a doctor at Yale New Haven Hospital, recently published an article in the New York Times titled "Where Have All the Heart Attacks Gone?," which wondered why hospitals are eerily quiet, save for COVID-19 cases.
What is striking is that many of the emergencies have disappeared. Heart attack and stroke teams, always poised to rush in and save lives, are mostly idle. This is not just at my hospital. My fellow cardiologists have shared with me that their cardiology consultations have shrunk, except those related to COVID-19. In an informal Twitter poll by @angioplastyorg, an online community of cardiologists, almost half of the respondents reported that they are seeing a 40 percent to 60 percent reduction in admissions for heart attacks; about 20 percent reported more than a 60 percent reduction.
Where are all these patients going? Some are dying at home, as is the case in New York City, where paramedics are being directed to leave cardiac arrest sufferers at home if they can't get a pulse at the scene. Those who want to go to the hospital may be afraid to do so, as the hysteria over the virus has kept them indoors. As Dr. Krumholz writes in his New York Times piece:
The most concerning possible explanation is that people stay home and suffer rather than risk coming to the hospital and getting infected with coronavirus. This theory suggests that COVID-19 has instilled fear of face-to-face medical care. As a result, many people with urgent health problems may be opting to remain at home rather than call for help. And when they do finally seek medical attention, it is often only after their condition has worsened. Doctors from Hong Kong reported an increase in patients coming to the hospital late in the course of their heart attack, when treatment is less likely to be lifesaving.
As a result of the crashing economy, hospitals and medical facilities have furloughed doctors and staff, and people who want to seek treatment simply don't have the option. In dozens of states, governors have issued executive orders directing hospitals to stop non-urgent procedures and surgeries, which is devastating the health care industry, forcing pay cuts, layoffs, and financial uncertainty. Ultimately, this is having a negative impact on health and well-being.
Between March 4 and April 4 of this year, there were 9,780 deaths in New York City, double the usual total. But only 3,350 were from coronavirus. This means that overall death in that city is way up as a whole. "The extent of damage from the virus may be greater than we anticipated, and the indirect effects of the virus may be greater than we anticipated," said Dr. Krumholz, who believes that patients with cardiac problems are not seeking care because of the coronavirus panic.
Cancer is not at all different. Patients with all kinds of cancer are having treatments postponed as a result of the panic over COVID-19, and those willing to leave their homes and venture to the hospital are being told by doctors not to bother. An update on the Mayo Clinic's website stated, "To better ensure that we limit your risk of exposure to COVID-19, all routine appointments for cancer surveillance will be postponed."
Aside from suicide, cancer, and heart attacks, coronavirus hysteria and irrational stay-at-home orders may be causing an increase in substance abuse. "The opioid epidemic in our country basically grew out of hopelessness and isolation," Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA), told CBS News. "And to the extent that the pandemic is going to exacerbate the economic and social situation of certain people, this could increase the risk of people turning to drugs."
According to an article in CBS News:
The opioid epidemic and the COVID-19 pandemic "have unfortunately crossed paths in a very lethal way," Allegra Schorr, president of the Coalition of Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) Providers and Advocates of New York State (COMPA) says. Schorr represents over 45 organizations serving 41,000 recovery patients in New York, the state hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic. She wants to strike the right balance between reducing both the spread of the disease and risk of overdose for patients using Medical Assisted Treatment.
The notion that keeping America locked down is saving lives — and that opening things back up is costing them — is simply not true. A safe but steady reopening of our country is badly needed, as there are health risks on both sides of the equation.