Policymakers focused on their models predicting how lockdowns could help limit the spread of COVID-19; an important factor, to be sure. So, too, many acknowledged the negative economic ramifications of lockdowns. But in the months since, we’ve seen many other dire consequences stem from the unprecedented shutdown of society.
Future public health policy should take these four life-threatening unintended consequences of COVID-19 lockdowns into account.
1) Massive Spikes in Suicide Rates and Mental Health Crises
Even the most fortunate among us felt the emotional strain from months behind closed doors. Being cut off from friends, family, and many of the other things that give life meaning has proved too much for many of those who were already struggling.
As FEE.org Managing Editor Jon Militmore has detailed, the Centers for Disease Control found that one in four young people have had suicidal thoughts during the pandemic to date. (For comparison, less than six percent of young people harbored similar thoughts in 2008-2009 according to older CDC data). And more than 40 percent of respondents said the crisis had prompted mental health or behavioral problems. Anecdotal evidence also suggests that suicidality increased during lockdown.
Given that young people without preconditions are at almost zero risk of death from COVID-19 and the well-documented deleterious effects of social isolation, it’s…