Makes sense, since we are now finding out that the biggest hospitalization/mortality surge is being caused by suicide attempts and drug overdoses. In a society without supernatural faith, despair comes at you really, really fast.
During a Buck Institute Webinar streamed on July 14, Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Robert Redfield promoted the general reopening of schools, highlighting the low coronavirus risk for children without preexisting conditions and the unfortunate spike in suicides and drug overdoses, which Redfield said are “far greater” in number than COVID-linked deaths in the young. HERE
“It’s not risk of school openings versus public health. It’s public health versus public health,” asserted Redfield.
“I’m of the point of view, and I weigh that equation as an individual that has 11 grandchildren that the greater risk is actually to the nation to keep these schools closed,” he continued.
Redfield said that over 7 million children get mental health services from their school, “a lot of people get food and nutrition in schools,” and added that schools are vital “in terms of mandatory reporting sexual and child abuse.”
“Obviously, the socialization is important,” he said.
Obvious, yes. So obvious that this problem was already laid out in early May, and in fact much early than that, in terms of the broader dynamic across the broader population:
Anxiety From Reactions to Covid-19 Will Destroy At Least Seven Times More Years of Life Than Can Be Saved by Lockdowns
By Andrew Glen, Ph.D. and James D. Agresti
May 4, 2020
Medical studies show that excessive stress and anxiety are among the most debilitating and deadly of all health hazards in the world. Beyond their obvious effects like suicide and substance abuse—these mental stressors are strongly related to and may trigger and inflame a host of ailments like high blood pressure, digestive disorders, heart conditions, infectious diseases, cancer, and pregnancy complications.
Based on a broad array of scientific data, Just Facts has computed that the anxiety created by reactions to Covid-19—such as stay-at-home orders, business shutdowns, media exaggerations, and legitimate concerns about the virus—will destroy at least seven times more years of human life than can possibly be saved by lockdowns to control the spread of the disease. This figure is a bare minimum, and the actual one is likely more than 90 times greater.
This study was reviewed by Joseph P. Damore, Jr., M.D., who concluded: “This research is engaging and thoroughly answers the question about the cure being worse than the disease.” Dr. Damore is a certified diplomate with the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, an assistant professor of psychiatry at the Weill Medical College of Cornell University, an assistant attending psychiatrist at New York Presbyterian Hospital, and an adjunct professor in the Department of Behavioral Sciences and Leadership at the U.S. Military Academy.
Stress and Anxiety Levels
Scientific surveys of U.S. residents have found that the mental health of about one-third to one-half of all adults has been substantially compromised by reactions to the Covid-19 pandemic. Examples include the following:
- An American Psychiatric Association survey in mid-March found that 36% of adults report that anxiety over Covid-19 “is having a serious impact on their mental health.”
- A Kaiser Family Foundation survey in late March found that 45% of adults “feel that worry and stress related to” Covid-19 “has had a negative impact on their mental health, an increase from 32% from early March.” Additionally, 19% of adults said it is having a “major impact” on their mental health.
- A Benenson Strategy Group survey in late March revealed that the Covid-19 “situation has already affected” the “mental health” of 55% of U.S. adults “either a great deal or somewhat.”
- A Kaiser Family Foundation survey in late April found that 56% of adults “report that worry and stress related to” Covid-19 “is affecting their mental health and wellbeing in various ways,” such as “trouble sleeping, “poor appetite or over-eating,” “frequent headaches or stomachaches,” “difficulty controlling their temper,” “increasing their alcohol or drug use,” and “worsening chronic conditions like diabetes or high blood pressure.”
Contributors to these mental health impacts include but are not limited to:
- empirically grounded concerns about the virus.
- anguish over the death of loved ones, although this is limited to a relatively small fraction of the public because the virus has killed one out of every 5,000 Americans, while one out of every 116 Americans die every year.
- media outlets that overstate the deadliness of Covid-19 by:
- government stay-at-home orders and self-imposed isolation, as evidenced by:
- a survey commissioned by the University of Phoenix in late March that found 44% of U.S. adults are more lonely than they have ever been in their lives, which is a risk factor for suicide and many other psychologically driven fatal afflictions.
- the late-March Kaiser Family Foundation survey, which “found that 47% of those sheltering in place reported negative mental health effects resulting from worry or stress,” a rate that “is significantly higher than the 37% among people who were not sheltering in place.”
- the late-March Benenson Strategy Group survey, which found that “71% of Americans say they are concerned that ‘social distancing’ measures will have a negative impact on the country’s mental health—including 28% who are extremely or very concerned about this.”
- government-mandated shutdowns of businesses in nearly every state that have cost millions of jobs and are reflected in the:
- late-April Kaiser Family Foundation survey, which found that 35% of adults and 55% of workers “have lost their jobs or had a reduction in hours or pay as a result of” responses to Covid-19.
- mid-March American Psychiatric Association survey, which found that 57% of adults are concerned that responses to the pandemic “will have a serious negative impact on their finances,” and 68% fear it “will have a long-lasting impact on the economy.”
Among all of the figures above, the lowest nationwide measure of people who have incurred psychological harm from reactions to Covid-19 is the 19% of adults in the late-March Kaiser Family Foundation survey who reported a “major impact” on their mental health. This survey included 1,226 respondents and has a margin of sampling error for this result of ± 2.2 percentage points with 95% confidence.
Therefore, at least 16.8% of 255,200,373 adults in the United States—or 42,873,663 people—have suffered major mental harm from responses to Covid-19. This figure forms the first key basis of this study.
The Deadliness of Anxiety and Stress
Medical journals are rich with studies that attempt to measure the lethality of stress, anxiety, depression, and other psychological conditions. Determining this is very difficult because association does not prove causation, and unmeasured factors could be at play.
For example, a 2011 meta-analysis in the journal Social Science & Medicine about mortality, “psychosocial stress,” and job losses finds that “unemployment is associated with a substantially increased risk of death among broad segments of the population,” but there are conflicting theories as to why this is so. One is that “unemployment causes adverse changes in health behaviors, which in turn lead to deterioration of health.” Put simply, unemployment causes bad health. The other theory is that bad health causes unemployment. Both of these theories may be true, and factors that are not measured in the studies could be causing both unemployment and bad health. Thus, it is very difficult to isolate these variables and determine which is causing the others and to what degree.
While trying to address such uncertainty, the meta-analysis examined “235 mortality risk estimates from 42 studies” and found that “unemployment is associated with a 63% higher risk of mortality in studies controlling for covariates.”
Regardless of whether job losses from Covid-19 lockdowns are brief or sustained, the study found that the death correlation “is significant in both the short and long term,” lending “some support to the hypothesis and previous findings that both the stress and the negative lifestyle effects associated with the onset of unemployment tend to persist even after a person has regained a job.”
Also of relevance to current job losses, the study indicates that added unemployment benefits, like those recently passed into federal law, are unlikely to mitigate the deadliness of job losses. This is because the meta-analysis found that the associations between unemployment and death in Scandinavia and the U.S. are not significantly different, even though the Scandinavian nations offer more generous welfare benefits. Thus, the authors conclude that “these national-level policy differences may not have much of an effect on the rate of mortality following unemployment.”
A broad range of other studies have similar implications for anxiety-related deaths wrought by reactions to Covid-19:
- A 1991 study published by the New England Journal of Medicine found that “psychological stress was associated in a dose-response manner with an increased risk of acute infectious respiratory illness.” A dose-response relationship, as explained by epidemiologist Sydney Pettygrove, “is one in which increasing levels of exposure are associated with either an increasing or a decreasing risk of the outcome.” She notes that when this pattern occurs, it “is considered strong evidence for a causal relationship between the exposure and the outcome.”
- A 2004 paper in The Lancet documents that “stress and depression result in an impairment of the immune response and might promote the initiation and progression of some types of cancer….” The paper details many human and animal studies germane to the Covid-19 lockdowns, such as those dealing with a “lack of social interactions” that cause certain cancers to metastasize.
- A 2005 paper in the Journal of Experimental Medicine finds that “psychological conditions, including stress” trigger a “sophisticated molecular mechanism” that increases “the likelihood of infections, autoimmunity, or cancer.”
- A 2012 meta-analysis in the British Medical Journal finds “a dose-response association between psychological distress and mortality from all causes, cardiovascular disease, and external causes across the full range of distress, even in people who would not usually come to the attention of mental health services.” Furthermore, “these associations remained after adjustment for age, sex, current occupational social class, body mass index, systolic blood pressure, physical activity, smoking, alcohol consumption, and diabetes.” People with the lowest levels of psychological distress in this study had a 20% greater risk of death, and those with the highest levels had a 94% greater risk.
- A 2012 paper in the Journal of the American Medical Association Psychiatry analyzes the death rates of more than a million young males in Sweden who underwent a government-mandated military draft physical that “included a structured interview by a psychologist” during 1969 to 1994. This study is particularly relevant to the effects of the current Covid-19 anxiety because it involves nearly all the healthy young men of a nation and excludes those with “severe” mental or physical disorders because they were excused from the exam. The study finds:
- Young men who were diagnosed with neurotic and adjustment disorders were 76% more likely to die in the average follow-up period of 22.6 years. A neurotic disorder is a problem dealing with anxiety, and an adjustment disorder—which is now called “stress response syndrome”—is “a short-term condition that occurs when a person has great difficulty coping with, or adjusting to, a particular source of stress, such as a major life change, loss, or event.” These are apt descriptions of the tens of millions of Americans who report that reactions to Covid-19 are seriously harming their mental health.
- Premature deaths associated with mental illness “are not primarily due to suicide or accidents, although risk of both is increased, but to a range of natural causes, particularly cardiovascular disease.” This suggests that the most pervasive harm from lockdowns does not manifest in obvious ways like suicides and overdoses.
- A 2015 paper in the American Journal of Epidemiology examines the death rates of all “Danes who received a diagnosis of reaction to severe stress or adjustment disorders” between 1995 and 2011. The study found that they “had mortality rates during the study period that were 2.2 times higher than” those of the general population.
- A 2015 meta-analysis in the Journal of the American Medical Association Psychiatry provides a systematic review of 148 studies of death and mental disorders with follow-up times ranging from one to 52 years, with a median of 10 years. It finds that the overall risk of death among people with mental disorders is 2.2 times that of the general population. Breaking these results out by condition, the mortality increases were:
- 43% for people with anxiety.
- 71% for people with depression
- 110% for people with mood disorders.
- 150% for people with psychoses.
Among all of the results above, the smallest risk of increased death is 20% in the 2012 meta-analysis. This has a margin of error from 13% to 27% with 95% confidence. The lower limit of 13% translates to an average of about 1.3 years of lost life per person.
Corroborating that figure, 22 of the studies in the 2015 meta-analysis included estimates for the average years of life lost by each person with a mental disorder. These “ranged from 1.4 to 32 years, with a median of 10.1 years.” None of these studies were for anxiety, but the low-end figure of 1.4 years provides additional evidence that those who suffer serious mental repercussions from responses to Covid-19 will lose an average of more than a year of life.
Therefore, the figure of 1.3 years of lost life is a bare minimum and forms the second key basis of this study. This varies widely by person and could be:
- 50 years or more for young people who commit suicide.
- one month or less for elderly persons who have cardiac events triggered by fear or loneliness.
- two years for the middle-aged people whose blood pressure begins spiking earlier in life than it would have in the absence of Covid-19-related stress.
Read the rest HERE.