We can't ignore the human cost of lockdowns

Extended social isolation can have serious health implications, from heart disease and dementia to depression and death. During the pandemic, our diets and lifestyles got worse, increasing our vulnerability to the very disease that isolation is meant to help address.

Our mental health suffers, too. The psychological effects of loneliness are a health risk comparable with risk obesity or smoking. Anxiety and depression have spiked since lockdown orders went into effect. The weeks immediately following them saw nearly an 18 percent jump in overdose deaths and, as of last month, more than 40 states had reported increases. One in four young adults age 18 to 25 reported seriously considering suicide within the 30-day window of a recent study. Experts fear that suicides may increase; for young Americans, these concerns are even more acute. Calls to domestic violence hotlines have soared. America’s elderly are dying from the isolation that was meant to keep them safe…

It’s also hard to tally the indirect fallout of lockdowns. A death certificate can tell us that someone died of Covid-19. It cannot tell us that the social isolation of lockdown was a factor in someone’s drug overdose. There is no nightly ovation for survivors of domestic violence.