What a prolonged shutdown will cost in human life

The Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis estimates over 52 million will be laid off just by the second quarter of 2020, for a 32.1% unemployment rate, far higher than Great Depression estimates of 20% to 25% unemployment. Should these predictions materialize, and if history can be our guide, we are going to lose tens of thousands of American lives to suicide … or more, if these impacts of a three-month shutdown were extended to realize Emanuel’s plan of 12-18 months of shutdown.

After only a few weeks of lockdown, calls to crisis hotlines increased from 1,000 to 25,000 a day in Indiana and 8,900% (Los Angeles), with the latter reporting that one in five calls express “suicidal desire.”

Expect an increase in heart attacks, too. Disruption-related stress attacks the heart. The National Institutes of Health reported that just the one-hour, fully anticipated Daylight Savings Time change correlates with a 24% increase in daily acute myocardial infarction (“AMI” or “heart attack”). What will be the increase in heart attacks when the disruption to our lives is not just one hour, but instead 12 to 18 months?

As “elective” routine cancer screenings are delayed, we should expect missed cancer diagnoses and an increase in cancer deaths.