Why no official talk of the lost lives from the economic shutdown?

There are a lot of ways people die.  The daily coronavirus task force briefings need to reflect this fact, instead of what has become a narrowly contrived focus on the coronavirus.  Because, in addition to an array of health problems that can kill a person, the effect of the shutdown is going to cause a lot of mortality as well.

Betsy McCaughey, chairwoman of the Committee to Reduce Infection Deaths, former lieutenant governor of New York, and outspoken critic of Obamacare, is raising the alarm about the cure being worse than the disease.  She's got hard numbers to support tragic facts.  Her recent piece in the New York Post has the following headline: "We must count the deaths from shutdowns as well as from coronavirus."

Task force briefing (White House file photo).

Noted below are salient points excerpted and summarized from the article, which cites trusted sources.

Predictions for unemployment range from 15% to 32%. (The latter figure would be worse than the Great Depression.)  

Every 1% hike in unemployment will likely produce a 3.3% increase in drug-overdose deaths as well as a nearly 1% increase in suicides.

If unemployment reaches 32%, 77,000 Americans are likely to die from drug overdose and/or suicide.

There's also evidence that shows a strong correlation between job loss, binge drinking, and alcoholism.

Another factor to add into the mix is that the mortality rate among the unemployed is 63% higher than for those who have jobs.

I would add a few more points that will contribute to poor health outcomes for Americans as this shutdown drags on.

Americans are postponing elective surgeries.  Many people with various non-virus-related symptoms are scared to go to the emergency room lest they become infected with the virus.  Doctors are seeing a major drop in heart attack and stroke patients in the E.R. as patients suffer at home.

And then there is the obvious point that poverty isn't good for health.

All told, fatal outcomes from our current state of affairs would likely far exceed the approximate 65,000 deaths anticipated due to the coronavirus — a figure that is horrific enough.

It's long overdue that when we talk about this virus and the measures that have been put in place to (presumably) limit infection, mortality, and hospital capacity, we place the myriad effects from economic collapse on equal footing at the very least.

Ultimately, a life is a life — whether one dies from the virus or from despair.

This madness cannot, and should not, stand.

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