By Lloyd Gardner
If you listen to much of the media on the subject of the pandemic you will usually hear a scary rundown of the rising numbers of new cases. One writer called this the “casedemic” because it is a pandemic based on the cases of the virus rather than its actual danger measured by the number of deaths resulting from it. What is becoming increasingly apparent is that many more deaths are the result of the attempts to solve the pandemic than the disease itself. The cure is worse than the disease.
As the United States Covid-19 cases rise, one of President-elect Joe Biden’s advisers has suggested a nationwide lockdown. Is this the answer to this tragedy or will it be the cause of even more tragic developments in our country?
First of all the attempts at solving the pandemic like lockdowns, mask wearing, quarantines, loss of jobs etc. have caused a massive rise in suicides and mental health emergencies across the nation. The CDC has stated that “While safety measures like social distancing are proven to reduce spread, the potential for adverse outcomes on suicide risk is high.”
It is extremely difficult to find exact figures on the suicide rate during the pandemic but most mental health professionals agree that it is a serious problem. The number of lives taken by Covid is in the headlines daily, but suicide among young people is resulting in what professionals are calling a “parallel pandemic.” The numbers are vast and when the shutdowns are over we may realize the big mistake we made in keeping people in a state of fear and loneliness.
The effects of exchanging face to face, heart to heart, communication for Zoom virtual classes is devastating our young people. Every family in America, no doubt, has experienced some measure of disappointment with these conditions. Many teachers will share that not only are students not learning as effectively but they are experiencing numerous social challenges and mental health issues.
Drug overdoses and substance abuse or on the rise. Newly released data from the D.C. based group ODMAP confirms that drug overdoses have increased during the pandemic rising at a rate of about 18%. They have also uncovered a substantial spike in fatal overdoses during the same period.
Economic damage is leading to loss of jobs and income resulting in an increase in hunger in our families. An analysis from Feeding America guesses that food insecurity will reach about 52 million people due to the pandemic, an increase of 17 million people from previous years. They estimate that from March to June four in every ten people at food banks are there for pandemic related reasons such as loss of jobs or school shutdowns.
Domestic violence is rising during to the pandemic lockdowns. Unexpected time at home, losing one’s job, financial insecurity, along with fear, anxiety and stress are typical conditions that health professionals say are known to worsen domestic violence. Two BYU economists, writing for the Journal of Public Economics, have affirmed that reports of domestic violence have risen dramatically since the beginning of the pandemic. Their studies of the 911 distress calls before and after the pandemic reveal a 7.5% increase in domestic violence. They noted an even sharper increase of 9.7% during the first five weeks of widespread physical distancing and stay-at-home orders by government officials.
The most drastic effects of these conditions cannot be measured. How is the domestic violence affecting other problems such as suicide and drug overdose and a myriad of other developments?
The importance of togetherness and touch has been confirmed by numerous studies over the years. The newborn baby needs skin to skin touch to begin connecting with mother and father and that touching should continue through the life of the child. Being separated by six feet of social distancing or robbing one another of the joy-imparting value of a simple smile has devastating results. Hugging has proven to be a source of emotional, cognitive and physical development for children and this need continues through life. All these joys have been taken from us.
One day, hopefully soon, we will see the damage we have caused with these mitigation rules and we will be stunned to realize we failed to see the simple truth that humans are designed to need togetherness, touch and smiles. We will discover that the cure caused more damage than the disease itself.