Lockdowns increase suicide concerns
By Timothy Easling, Senior Columnist
A recent study indicates lockdowns and their related job-losses may be causing many suicide deaths—estimating thousands of additional lives to be at stake.
COVID-19 remains the major story for many news outlets as they emphasize case numbers while minimizing the fact that total deaths remain relatively low. It is important to keep in mind that the government data shows COVID still predominantly affects those of advanced age and weakened states, not those of average age or really even those who are over 60 but healthy.
Unless stated otherwise, all statistics in this piece are from available government data with age demographics (99.9 percent of cases). From November 17 to 23 there have been 451 deaths, and 95.34 percent of those (430) are from those 60-and-up—often in long term care homes (LTCs), acute care, or assisted living, and with multiple comorbidities; the risk of dying for Canadians who are neither of advanced age nor weakened states continues to remain low. Also of note is that 315 of those deaths (69.8 percent) are from those 80-and-up. Canada has suffered 11,240 deaths from COVID-19—and saw 8,511 deaths in 2018 from Influenza and pneumonia. The population of Canada is 38,005,238.
Countrywide from November 17 to 23, the 0-39 age bracket suffered 6 more deaths, the 40-49 age bracket, 2, and the 50-59 age bracket, 13. The massive case numbers indicate the low fatality rate of the disease for those not of ill health; the 0-39 age bracket saw 15,712 more cases, the 40-49 age bracket had 4,270 more, the 50-59 age bracket observed 3,870 more, and the 60+ age bracket recorded 5,800 more. Just from the last week of cases, the fatality rate for each bracket in relation to its case numbers was 0.04 percent (0-39), 0.05 percent (40-49), 0.34 percent (50-59), and 7.41 percent (60+). Further emphasizing the low risk of death to many Canadians, there were 23,852 cases from 0-59 and 21 deaths—which works out to a fatality rate of 0.09 percent.
Hospitalization increases remained steady with previous weeks—and with almost none of them (again, for those not of weakened states) resulting in death. The vast majority (71.74 percent) of hospitalizations were from the 60-and-up age bracket (942 more) with the lower age brackets registering small totals: 0-39—110 more, 40-49—85 more, 50-59—158 more. ICU admittances remained much the same with only 232 more. Of those 232, 67.67 percent (157) were from the 60+ age bracket. The remaining 75 cases were divided among the lower age brackets: 0-39—20, 40-49—16, and 50-59—39.
British Columbia has suffered 58 deaths from 6,422 cases (0.9 percent fatality rate) since November 17 as Provincial Health Officer Bonnie Henry’s two-week health order has now been extended until December 7. The population of the province is 5,147,712.
In Canada, Influenza and pneumonia were responsible for 8,511 deaths in 2018; COVID, with no vaccine, is on pace to do roughly double that figure over the course of the entire year. Although the flu shot has existed since WWII, only about a third of Canadians typically get vaccinated (a slight increase in recent years). Curiously, Influenza counts have been drastically down this year—with only four total cases reported in week 46 (November 8-14). The average from week 35-46 over the last six years has been 1,115, but this year has seen only 19. Based on the data, there is a likelihood that COVID-19 numbers have been merged with Influenza figures.
Also of note is that as businesses struggle under the many lockdowns across the country and unemployment figures threaten to surge, suicide becomes a major concern. Many Canadians point to lockdowns saving lives, but a recent study (even noted in the National Post) indicates lockdowns and their related job-losses may be causing many deaths—estimating thousands of additional lives to be at stake. Unlike COVID, suicide rates affect all age demographics relatively evenly, and the country suffered approximately 4,000 deaths per year before the lockdowns came in. While COVID has claimed the lives of 36 people from the age of 0-39, suicide averages 1,434 for the same age bracket each year. Additionally, while COVID has put 1,845 from the age of 0-39 into the hospital, suicide-related injuries result in a yearly average of 9,271 from the same age bracket.