One of projected President Elect Joe Biden’s Coronavirus advisors advocated for a new nationwide lockdown to handle the current state of the pandemic. Dr. Michael Osterholm said that a 4-6 week closure of the country could be a necessary sacrifice, as the country is headed for “Covid Hell.” This was an unofficial position. Joe Biden himself said that he would implement another nationwide lockdown if the scientists and “experts” made the recommendation. He, of course, has flipped on this stance, in public anyway. But what if he were to flip on his flip? If past proves the future, a Biden lockdown would further entrench the deterioration of American’s mental health, substance abuse, and suicidal ideation that has increased ever since the original lockdowns came into effect earlier this year.
It is becoming more evident as time goes on that Covid-19 lockdowns are leading to massive spikes in deteriorating mental health and depression in significant parts of the population. After noting that mass trauma events such as war and natural disaster can have catastrophic consequences on our collective mental health, Time explored a study linking Covid-19 lockdowns to the rise in depression. “…a study published in JAMA Network Open offers one of the first nationally representative estimates of how severe that epidemic may be: Three times as many Americans met criteria for a depression diagnosis during the pandemic than before it.” Social isolation is just one of the major contributing factors to the drastic rise in depression cases reported in America. Dr. Collin Reiff, clinical assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry at NYU Langone Health, says “The rates of depression have significantly increased during the pandemic because people are more socially isolated, have less structure and routine, and more uncertainty about the future, which leads to doubt and negative predictions,” according to Healthline. The depression experienced under the grim reality of lockdown can and often will manifest itself into self-destructive behavior.
Under this regime of restricted civil liberties, substance abuse and alcohol consumption have gone hand in hand with the rise of depression. In an article titled “Americans Are Drinking a Crazy Amount of Alcohol During Coronavirus Lockdown,” the New York Post reported that “US sales of alcoholic beverages have risen 55 percent in the week ending March 21, according to Nielsen data.” Beer sales were up 42%. Wine, 66%. Spirits were up an astounding 75% from the same point last year. The rise in drug overdoses seen over this timeframe also imply that drug abuse has begun spiraling under lockdown, as well. “During the height of the COVID-19 lockdown, drug overdose deaths rose a staggering 70 percent in Central Florida compared with the same time a year earlier,” reports the Orlando Sentinel. On a nationwide basis, US News & World Report cites findings reported by JAMA Psychiatry: “The overall rate of overdose-related cardiac arrests in 2020 through Aug. 1 was approximately 50% higher than an average trend observed for 2018 and 2019.” Loss of employment, security, stability, or purpose can all lead to increased substance abuse, but also something much worse.
Suicide has been an endemic problem amongst Military Veterans, but under Covid-19 lockdown, the tragedy of suicide appears to be spreading in higher rates among the American population at large. All the way back in May, doctors at the John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek, California, said they were seeing suicide deaths far outpace the local Covid-19 death count amid the state’s first lockdown order, according to ABC 7 News. “We’ve never seen numbers like this, in such a short period of time. I mean we’ve seen a year’s worth of suicide attempts in the last four weeks,” said Dr. Mike deBoisblanc. CNN reports that during the height of the nationwide lockdowns in America, the Disaster Distress Hotline saw exponential increases in mental health crisis calls: “In March, the helpline saw a 338% increase in call volume compared with February, according to a spokesperson with the agency. And compared to last year for the month of March, they had an 891% increase of calls.” While the real numbers on suicide during the current pandemic are not yet clear, massive increases in ideation and suicide attempts reflect a clear crisis which is unfolding in this country, reflected by reporting by Fox News: “‘deaths of despair’ could reach 150,000 in the U.S. if more isn’t done to provide access to mental health care, increase emotional well-being, mitigate social isolation and blunt the impact of an economic downturn that has wiped away at least 40 million jobs, researchers warn.”
As demonstrated by the rising numbers of those meeting the criteria of having depression, increased substance use, and a rise in suicide ideation and attempts, lockdowns are destructive. There appears to be little evidence that lockdowns have done anything to end this pandemic, as the first nationwide lockdown did not eradicate it, and pseudo lockdowns across the country have done nothing to stop the spread of it. If a Joe Biden Administration were to pursue yet another nationwide lockdown, the results would be catastrophic to the people of America.