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COVID, Suicide and Solidarity

FILE - In this July 22, 2020, file photo, people line up behind a health care worker at a mobile Coronavirus testing site at the Charles Drew University of Medicine and Science, in Los Angeles. As the world races to ... FILE - In this July 22, 2020, file photo, people line up behind a health care worker at a mobile Coronavirus testing site at the Charles Drew University of Medicine and Science, in Los Angeles. As the world races to find a vaccine and a cure for COVID-19, there is seemingly no antidote in sight to the burgeoning outbreak of coronavirus conspiracy theories, hoaxes, anti-mask myths and sham treatments. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File) MORE LESS
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April 5, 2021 10:05 a.m.

Throughout the last year of the COVID pandemic and through the polarized debates over lockdowns and mitigation one constant refrain from politicians has been that aggressive lockdowns are taking lives as well as saving them. In its crudest form, remember ex-President Trump’s constant insistence that ‘the cure can’t be worse than the disease’. He and others who made this argument focused particularly on depression and suicide. But now preliminary data for 2020 shows that death by suicide actually declined by a small but significant amount. Year over year in 2020 death by suicide (44,834) declined by 5.6% and was the lowest in absolute numbers since 2015 (44,193).

Is this a surprise?

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