As renewed lockdowns go into effect to combat the winter surge in COVID-19 cases, the dire impact of such restrictions is now becoming tragically evident. Increasingly, it seems the lockdowns and other restrictions are creating — at best — a Pyrrhic victory of sorts: a victory which inflicts such a devastating toll on the “winner” that it is effectively a defeat. Countless Americans face economic ruin, many businesses have been forced to close, deaths and diseases of despair have skyrocketed, and all other serious health concerns have been overshadowed by the seemingly misguided efforts to quell the pandemic. It’s no longer conjecture to argue that shutting down entire countries will cause untold collateral damage. The only question that remains is if the consequences of such restrictions will, ultimately, surpass the loss caused by the pandemic itself.
More Japanese people died from suicide in just one month than from the entire COVID-19 pandemic.
It’s a harrowing fact that borders on the surreal. In just the month of October alone, more Japanese men and women have taken their own lives than have died from COVID-19 during the entire duration of the pandemic to date, according to CBS News.
“Far more Japanese people are dying of suicide, likely exacerbated by the economic and social repercussions of the pandemic, than of the COVID-19 disease itself. While Japan has managed its coronavirus epidemic far better than many nations, keeping deaths below 2,000 nationwide, provisional statistics from the National Police Agency show suicides surged to 2,153 in October alone, marking the fourth straight month of increase.”
In even grimmer news, Ayai Tomisawa of The Japan Times reported that the number of suicides grew due to an unprecedented number of women and children taking their own lives. Women committing suicide “jumped by around 40 percent,” while “suicides by students in elementary to high school more than doubled to 59 [percent] from the same period last year.”
While suicides were finally decreasing in Japan since health officials began keeping such records in 1978, the pandemic has reversed such an optimistic trajectory due, in large part, to the catastrophic rise in women committing suicide, according to CNN.
“But for the 10 years leading up to 2019, the number of suicides had been decreasing in Japan…The pandemic appears to have reversed that trend, and the rise in suicides has disproportionately affected women. Although they represent a smaller proportion of total suicides than men, the number of women taking their own lives is increasing. In October, suicides among women in Japan increased almost 83% compared to the same month the previous year. For comparison, male suicides rose almost 22% over the same time period.”
It’s increasingly evident that such calamities are directly related to the pandemic and the consequent restrictions put in place. Worse, Japan is one of the very few nations that reports official data on suicides. Here in the U.S., such data is often only available years later, allowing for only speculation and guesswork on the current impact of the pandemic restrictions on American lives.
“The mental health toll looks set to be one of the pandemic’s most insidious legacies given the difficulty of grasping or measuring the magnitude of self-inflicted harm until it is too late,” Ayai Tomisawa of The Japan Times continues. “Major economies like the U.S. and China don’t report official data on suicides until years later, though experts have predicted a wave of such deaths this year while anecdotal evidence abounds on social media platforms.”
Some studies suggest that the suicide rate could increase by as much as 145% given the toll the pandemic is having on younger people, according to The BMJ.
“Widely reported studies modeling the effect of the covid-19 pandemic on suicide rates predicted increases ranging from 1% to 145%, largely reflecting variation in underlying assumptions. Particular emphasis has been given to the effect of the pandemic on children and young people. Numerous surveys have highlighted that their mental health has been disproportionately affected, relative to older adults, and some suggest an increase in suicidal thoughts and self-harm.”
If what’s occurring in Japan is any indication, such a bleak outlook may very well prove true here in the U.S. given the restrictions being implemented once again. As it stands, Japan’s death toll for suicides for 2020 alone is at 17,000 and counting.
Deaths from heart disease and other ailments are skyrocketing during the pandemic.
As predicted by many experts, countless individuals with serious health conditions have put off visits to doctors and hospitals due to both enduring fears of COVID-19 and the fatiguing limitations put in place by the various pandemic restrictions. A staggering 50% of elderly Americans canceled appointments in April of 2020, according to KHN.
In England, this has resulted in an alarming number of excess deaths from heart disease. According to The Guardian, “The British Heart Foundation (BHF) said there had been 4,622 ‘excess deaths’ from heart and circulatory diseases between the start of the pandemic and mid-October.”
Many of these deaths were preventable according to the BHF. However, because of the pandemic, “relatively younger adults had been dying of heart problems in higher numbers than expected” due to a variety of reasons including putting off “seeking care.” The BHF also listed “fear of contracting Covid-19 in health settings” and “delays to surgeries and routine heart care” as contributing factors.
Dr. Chris Colwell, Chief of Emergency Medicine at San Francisco General Hospital, told NBC News that many are “suffering severe consequences from having delayed care for fear of coming to the hospital.”
It’s worth noting that an October 2020 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) also reported a sharp increase in deaths from non-COVID-19 causes. The authors of the study stated that an “analysis found that COVID-19 was cited in only 65% of excess deaths in the first weeks of the pandemic” and that “deaths from non–COVID-19 causes (eg, Alzheimer disease, diabetes, heart disease) increased sharply in 5 states with the most COVID-19 deaths.” The authors concluded that though “US deaths increased by 20% during March-July 2020,” COVID-19 contributed to “only 67% of these excess deaths.”
Leading epidemiologists warned of severe consequences to such restrictive measures at the outset of the pandemic.
Since the very beginning of the pandemic, many lauded epidemiologists raised the alarm on the grim realities extended lockdown restrictions would likely cause. Most were either forced into silence or vilified for their positions. The media, alongside his own peers in the scientific community, disparaged lauded Stanford epidemiologist, John Ioannidis, for his early position on limiting lockdowns — ironic considering how much praise he received for his 2005 study that demanded far more rigor and critical evaluation in scientific research.
In April of 2020, Ioannidis specifically brought up the specter of increased suicides as a potential consequence of locking down in an interview for the Wall Street Journal.
“‘But there’s far, far, far more . . . young people who commit suicide.’ If the panic and attendant disruption continue, he says, ‘we will see many young people committing suicide . . . just because we are spreading horror stories with Covid-19. There’s far, far more young people who get cancer and will not be treated, because again, they will not go to the hospital to get treated because of Covid-19. There’s far, far more people whose mental health will collapse.’”
Ioannidis proved sadly prescient as we now bear somber witness to the exponential rise in suicides in Japan, as well as the disturbing fact that 25% of young Americans from ages 18 to 24 have contemplated suicide.
Ioannidis also spelled out other consequences likely to occur if such restrictions continued for an extended period of time — most of which also proved true. In his now viral piece for STAT in March of 2020 that was roundly condemned at the time by the legacy media, he argued that “draconian countermeasures” might prove catastrophic well beyond the scope of the pandemic itself.
“One of the bottom lines is that we don’t know how long social distancing measures and lockdowns can be maintained without major consequences to the economy, society, and mental health. Unpredictable evolutions may ensue, including financial crisis, unrest, civil strife, war, and a meltdown of the social fabric. At a minimum, we need unbiased prevalence and incidence data for the evolving infectious load to guide decision-making.”
Three other leading epidemiologists from Harvard, Oxford, and Stanford have all but exhausted their voices in providing ample evidence that the various pandemic restrictions are causing far more harm than good. Sunetra Gupta, Jay Bhattacharya, and Martin Kulldorff composed The Great Barrington Declaration detailing their “grave concerns about the damaging physical and mental health impacts of the prevailing COVID-19 policies.” It seems to no avail, though 9,000 doctors and scientists and counting have signed the declaration. Still, it has barely registered a blip on the legacy media’s radar — even with such a nuanced and reasoned position — mainly because it goes against the prevailing narrative.
“Coming from both the left and right, and around the world,” the epidemiologists write, “we have devoted our careers to protecting people. Current lockdown policies are producing devastating effects on short and long-term public health. The results (to name a few) include lower childhood vaccination rates, worsening cardiovascular disease outcomes, fewer cancer screenings and deteriorating mental health — leading to greater excess mortality in years to come, with the working class and younger members of society carrying the heaviest burden. Keeping students out of school is a grave injustice.”