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Shutdown Economy Far Deadlier Than Covid-19

The pandemic’s effect on the economy will cause more damage and cost more lives than the novel coronavirus ever could achieve on its own. The longer the economic shutdown measures are kept in place, the negative effects will continuing accelerating Americans into a dangerous frontier. 

There’s a reason that the elites have pushed Armageddon narratives regarding Covid-19. The consequences of economic despair will be less likely to affect them, whereas the Chinese virus does not care about their status or access to resources. Not all deaths are equal. Some deaths are more equal than others. 

One week ago, the United Nations released a projection that worldwide food insecurity would double as a result of Covid-19 and deaths caused by lack of food resources could reach up to 30 million this year. 

According to the WFP, in January, 135 million people were facing extreme hunger after nine million already perished as a result of starvation in 2019. The newest data suggests that number will almost double by the end of the year. The U.N. claims that most of these deaths will occur in places already vulnerable because of war or crop failure. 

But now even those in wealthy nations will have to prepare for mass food insecurity. Last week, the U.S. jobless claims rose to a terrifying 26 million, many millions of those are already facing food insecurity. And just days ago, the 13th U.S. slaughterhouse ceased operations and just like that, a substantial food shortage is on the horizon. 

There are only 50 plants that account for virtually all meat processing done in America and according to The New York Times, just shutting down one of these few plants for a few weeks will eventually lead to months of meat shortages. 

Congress can continue to vote on measures to get cash in the hands of hurting Americans, but all the money in the world can’t turn into dinner if food markets collapse. Substantial U.S. food shortages, compounded with 14 trade partners of the United States that have implemented food export bans, will soon cause basic food prices to soar higher than the 10% increase some places have seen so far into 2020. 

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has attempted a Hail Mary pass by injecting almost $20 billion into direct support for farmers and ranchers, but with supply line capacities being tested already, it may not be enough to get fresh produce, dairy and milk to the growing number of individuals facing food insecurity. This is witnessed by the miles long lines to food banks that are quickly running out of resources to meet their new demands, like the 10,000 families that visited a single San Antonio food bank in one day. 

The tragic irony is that a healthy diet is a great defense to fend off illnesses like the coronavirus and its accompaning comorbidities like high blood pressure and coronary heart disease. 

A disabled economy will multiply other leading causes of deaths, too. Prior to President Trump ever muttering “China virus”, America was seeing a new decline in drug related deaths. But now experts are trying to warn the public about the threat Covid-19 places on people to develop a substance abuse issue. 

Around 130 lives are lost each day to drug overdoses, but now multiple medical journals are suggesting increasing “catastrophic overdose rates” with as many as 3 million Americans at risk. 

US attorney James Kennedy Jr. recently released this statement

“Lately, with the pandemic, we have heard a great deal about mortality rates. Since March 1st in Erie County, we have had 110 documented drug overdoses which have resulted in the deaths of 36 individuals—for a death rate of 33%—one-third of all individuals who have overdosed in Erie County since March 1st have died. I think we need to consider the role that social isolation coupled with non-stop reporting on the pandemic may have on the feelings of desperation and hopelessness among those struggling with substance abuse. Amidst the current crisis, we need to remember that substance abuse existed long before COVID-19, and it will likely remain long after we have wiped out the virus. Not only has the time come to credit those brave men and women working in the medical, healthcare, and law enforcement communities as they do their best, in the face of deadly threats, to preserve public health and safety, but the time has also come for all of us to recognize that the job is not theirs alone to do. Only when personal responsibility overtakes public panic as the impetus for individual and collective action can we optimize our ability to recognize and overcome the greatest threats we face.”

All the reasons why people turn to drugs are being amplified viz., pandemic shutdowns; unemployment and economic instability, lack of social contact and prolonged isolation, sharp increases in domestic violence and massive fear campaigns everywhere we look. These are the same risk factors associated with suicide. 

Prevention advocates are deeply disturbed with worry about an upcoming “mental health fallout from the coronavirus pandemic for years to come.”

JAMA Network has published a new paper, Suicide Mortality and Coronavirus Disease 2019—A Perfect Storm, which claims that another driving factor of suicide is “decreased access to community and religious support”

“Many Americans attend various community or religious activities. Weekly attendance at religious services has been associated with a 5-fold lower suicide rate compared with those who do not attend. The effects of closing churches and community centers may further contribute to social isolation and hence suicide.”

Food insecurity, drug abuse and suicides will cause losses of human life far surpassing the coronavirus death toll and will continue to even when Covid-19 is just a memory. But these tragedies won’t be paraded and reported on with the same excitement, new deaths won’t be announced like football scores, because it remains too simple for those in control to ignore them or attribute them to something more complex than our own destruction of the U.S. economy. More bluntly, people don’t care. 

We like to think we have some sort of buffer between poor people, or drug users, or those mentally disturbed. You may think you’ll never personally succumb to these personal tragedies. There are plenty of grieving mothers who had children that once thought like that, too. 

But even if you are financially and emotionally stable, the fallout from these sort of chronic issues being amplified by sabotaging the economy over a virus with a 99.8% survival rate, will impact crime, communities and resources for many years to come. The true mass suffering won’t be from the pandemic, but instead our reaction to it. The devastating results should serve as a reminder of what should have been a priority from the start.

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