OPINION | This article contains political commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
Remember when all the lockdown craziness started? Some people (mostly on the right) suggested that the coronavirus isn’t the only threat to our physical and mental health, so maybe shutting people in their homes and taking away their livelihood isn’t the best course of action. Other people (mostly on the left) went crazy, screaming that we wanted to kill Grandma, calling us Haircut Karens, and claiming that “if it saves just one life” the lockdown is worth it.
Well, now there’s this:
Doctors in Northern California say they have seen more deaths from suicide than they’ve seen from the coronavirus during the pandemic.
“The numbers are unprecedented,” Dr. Michael deBoisblanc of John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek, California, told ABC 7 News about the increase of deaths by suicide, adding that he’s seen a “year’s worth of suicides” in the last four weeks alone.
A year’s worth of suicides in just one month. That is absolutely tragic. And it’s probably going to get worse.
A study published in early May suggested that the coronavirus could lead to at least 75,000 deaths directly brought on by anxiety from the virus, job losses, and addition to alcohol and drugs.
In the last few months, alcohol sales have skyrocketed. Opioid deaths are rising. Overdoses are increasing. Calls to suicide hotlines have increased exponentially. This is all serious stuff.
But if the lockdowns save just one life, it was worth it, amirite? Pay no attention to the thousands of Americans who can no longer put food on their tables, or are watching their businesses crumble due to arbitrary government overreach.
It’s time to reopen the country. The original point of the lockdowns was to “flatten the curve” – to make sure the healthcare system was not overwhelmed, so there were not excess deaths due to lack of medical capacity. We’ve done that. Hospitals in most of the country are empty; some are even shutting down or laying off staff. I’m honestly not sure what the metric for reopening currently is – a vaccine? no more death? we can only go out once everyone agrees to wear hazmat suits? – because the goalposts keep moving.
And now, we’re seeing the evidence that locking people down is surely going to lead to tens of thousands of additional deaths.
Americans cannot and should not stand for this. And we’re not: even Californians and New Yorkers are starting to defy stay-at-home orders. Even Dr. Freakin’ Fauci is recognizing that the extended lockdowns have negative health consequences.
Be safe, socially distance, wear a mask if you think it’s necessary. But it’s time for everyone who is relatively young, relatively healthy, and not paralyzed with fear to get back to our lives.
If you or a loved one are struggling during this time, remember you’re not alone. Help is out there. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or look up resources in your area.