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San Francisco Sees More Overdose Deaths Than Covid Deaths in 2020

Data show alarming trends in drug overdoses and suicide as people—especially young people who are least at risk from COVID-19—are forcibly cut off from friends, families, and communities.


It’s quite likely that wherever you are reading this, you are currently subjected to lockdowns, restrictions, regulations, or executive orders to one degree or another, as government officials respond to the coronavirus pandemic with increasing coercion and control. Indeed, The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday that US states and cities have “imposed the most extensive restrictions on business and social gatherings” since the spring.

Many argue that these new restrictions are essential for slowing the current surge in coronavirus cases in certain areas, but some public health researchers have pointed out that lockdowns and related government orders that focus entirely on containing COVID-19 cases lead to worse public health outcomes in other areas. This collateral damage from lockdowns is already glaringly apparent. In particular, data show an alarming trend toward drug overdoses and suicide in 2020, as people—especially young people who are least at risk from COVID-19—are forcibly cut off from their friends, families, and communities.

The desperation is revealed in startling new statistics. According to the Associated Press, a total of 621 people have died of drug overdoses this year in San Francisco, compared to 173 deaths in the city from COVID-19. The number of San Francisco drug overdose deaths is up from 441 in 2019. California has enacted some of the strictest public health orders in the country this year, and is still seeing its cases rise.

One survey by YouGov found that 39 percent of respondents who were recovering from an addiction prior to lockdowns have relapsed. Other research shows increasing rates of drug and alcohol abuse in 2020, and the CDC reports that overdose deaths are accelerating during COVID-19.

Federal surveys show that 40 percent of Americans are now grappling with at least one mental health or drug-related problem.

Martin Kulldorff, a biostatistician and epidemiologist at Harvard Medical School, has been critical of widespread lockdowns since the beginning of the pandemic, warning that these coercive strategies would lead to other serious public health harms and increased mortality.

“The current lockdown strategy has led to many excess deaths, both from COVID-19 and from the collateral damage on other health outcomes,” Kulldorff recently told Newsweek. “A focused protection strategy, as outlined in the Great Barrington Declaration, would minimize disease and mortality by better protecting older and other high risk people while letting the young live near normal lives.”

Kulldorff also suggests that new data showing US excess deaths in 2020 for people ages 25-44 are mostly due to the collateral damage caused by lockdown policies.

In addition to rising drug and alcohol abuse and overdose deaths, suicidal thoughts and attempts are also increasing this year. The Washington Post reports that depression and anxiety have surged since the arrival of the coronavirus.

“Federal surveys show that 40 percent of Americans are now grappling with at least one mental health or drug-related problem. But young adults have been hit harder than any other age group, with 75 percent struggling,” the Post reports. “Even more alarming, when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently asked young adults if they had thought about killing themselves in the past 30 days, 1 in 4 said they had.”

The Post explains that we won’t have accurate data on suicide rates for 2020 until another couple of years, due to slow reporting mechanisms. But state and city data for some areas suggest disturbing suicide numbers this year, including in Oregon’s Columbia County where suicides by summertime had already exceeded the area’s 2019 total, and DuPage County near Chicago reports a 23 percent increase in suicides over last year. Other large counties in the US have seen similarly ominous trends, and in Japan, more people died of suicide in the month of October alone than have died from COVID-19 this entire year.

As families weigh the trade-offs this holiday season between social isolation to slow the spread of coronavirus and the harms that this separation can cause, many of them are choosing to ignore public health warnings to avoid travel and holiday gatherings. The New York Times reports that millions of people have passed through airport security checkpoints this week, while The Wall Street Journal indicates that nearly 85 million Americans are expected to travel between Dec. 23 and Jan. 3, a decline of just under 30 percent from last year.

More families may be seeing the damage these lockdowns and related policies are causing their loved ones and are no longer willing to comply with draconian orders to stay away from others. Their decision may be made easier when they see public health officials and politicians personally violating the holiday travel and gathering warnings and rules they thrust on others.

COVID-19 should be taken seriously as a public health threat, but so too should the harms of lockdowns and government orders that are leading to record numbers of drug overdose deaths and suicides, along with other types of collateral damage such as rising global poverty and declining cancer screenings.

While public health and elected officials remain singularly focused on COVID-19, families gathering this holiday season recognize that ensuring the overall health and well-being of their loved ones extends beyond one virus.

COLUMN BY

Kerry McDonald

Kerry McDonald is a Senior Education Fellow at FEE and author of Unschooled: Raising Curious, Well-Educated Children Outside the Conventional Classroom (Chicago Review Press, 2019). She is also an adjunct scholar at The Cato Institute and a regular Forbes contributor. Kerry has a B.A. in economics from Bowdoin College and an M.Ed. in education policy from Harvard University. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts with her husband and four children. You can sign up for her weekly newsletter on parenting and education here.

EDITORS NOTE: This FEE column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

3 States Account for 42 Percent of All COVID-19 Deaths in America. Why?

Despite the recent coronavirus surge in southern states, three states—New York, New Jersey, and Massachusetts—account for about 42 percent of COVID-19 deaths in America. Why?


In a recent article in The AtlanticThomas Chatterton Williams decried America’s handling of the coronavirus.

The words “utter disaster” are used, and Williams, an expatriate, contrasts America’s response to that of France, where he currently lives.

“As Donald Trump’s America continues to shatter records for daily infections, France, like most other developed nations and even some undeveloped ones, seems to have beat back the virus,” Williams writes.

To be sure, the US response to the coronavirus was far from perfect (more on that later). But the article shows one of the challenges with this pandemic: even as more data is acquired, the picture doesn’t always get clearer.

In some ways, COVID-19 data are like a Rorschach blot from which writers, politicians, and experts can glean whatever conclusions they wish to find. Take Sweden, where daily COVID-19 deaths recently reached zero.

According to Newsweek editorial director Hank Gilman, Sweden’s “lighter touch” approach was a failure because seven times as many people died there than in neighboring Scandnavian countries such as Finland and Norway. He is not alone in the assessment.

On the other hand, Sweden suffered far fewer deaths per capita than several European neighbors that instituted strict lockdowns—including Belgium, Italy, Spain, and the United Kingdom—and has avoided some of the economic fallout other nations have endured. Unlike other countries, its currency is growing stronger.

Indeed, Sweden’s death rate is remarkably close to that of France, which Williams praised as a model in contrast to the “utter disaster” in the US. However, the US actually has a lower per capita death rate than both Sweden and France—at least for now. (While it’s true COVID cases are on the rise again in the US, deaths recently reached three-month lows.)

This raises questions about how we measure success in the age of COVID-19. While most attention is being paid to rising case numbers, death tolls would seem to be the most important metric. While US deaths per capita (401/1M) put the country among the ten highest in the world—ahead of France and Sweden, but just below the Netherlands—those numbers also don’t tell the entire story.

Few may have noticed that 42 percent of all COVID deaths in the US come from just three states—New Jersey, New York, and Massachusetts. These three states account for nearly 56,000 of the nearly 133,000 deaths in the US, even though they represent just 10 percent of the population. If these three states are excluded, the US suddenly finds itself somewhere in between nations such as Luxembourg (176/1M) and Macedonia (166/1M), where some of the better fatality numbers in Europe are found.

Why have New York, New Jersey, and Massachusetts suffered so much more than other US states? We don’t yet know the answer to that question, but evidence suggests it could be policy related.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo earlier this year received a great deal of criticism when the state’s policy of prohibiting nursing homes from screening residents for COVID-19 came to light. Cuomo eventually reversed that decision under intense criticism from public health experts and trade group leaders.

This week, the New York State Department of Health issued a report that concluded 6,326 COVID-positive residents were admitted to nursing homes between March 25 and May 8 as a result of the order.

”The data shows that the nursing home residents got COVID from the staff, and presumably, also from those who visited them. Unfortunately, we did not understand the disease early on, we did not realize how widespread it was within our community, and therefore, it was able to be introduced into a vulnerable population,” said New York Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker.

The report, however, also claimed that “most patients admitted to nursing homes from hospitals were no longer contagious when admitted and therefore were not a source of infection … [and] … nursing home quality was not a factor in nursing home fatalities.”

The report cites the high nursing home fatality rates of Massachusetts and New Jersey as additional evidence that New York was not an outlier in nursing home deaths.

“…an examination of fatalities in our neighboring states—despite having populations much smaller than New York’s—illustrates fatalities at these facilities were not a New York-specific phenomenon: Connecticut reports 3,124 deaths in these facilities, New Jersey reports 6,617, and Massachusetts reports 5,115, to New York’s 6,432 fatalities.”

However, it’s worth noting that both New Jersey and Massachusetts had similar policies in place, according to the AARP and other news stories. Moreover, the actual number of nursing home deaths in New York is difficult to know, since New York changed its reporting so that nursing home residents who die of COVID-19 are not counted as a nursing home death if they die at a hospital.

The context of the US numbers matters for several reasons. For one, understanding why New York, New Jersey, and Massachusetts have suffered so much more from the coronavirus may hold keys to combating the virus.

Secondly, there is currently a great deal of scrutiny on states such as Florida, Texas, and Arizona, which have seen case numbers increase in recent weeks, a spike that began in mid-June after states reopened their economies. The implication is that these states dropped the ball by reopening too soon.

None of these states, however, has a per capita fatality rate that even approaches New Jersey, Massachusetts, or New York. Below are the figures as of July 7.

  • New Jersey: 1,728.7
  • New York: 1,660
  • Massachusetts: 1,189
  • Arizona: 265
  • Florida: 179
  • Texas: 94

Considering these numbers, one would not expect to see a governor from New Jersey, New York, or Massachusetts lecture these other states on their handling of the coronavirus. But that’s exactly what Gov. Cuomo did, claiming his state-ordered lockdown “saved lives” and chastening governors who opened their economies.

“I say to them all look at the numbers,” Cuomo said, referring to leaders in the states seeing rises in COVID-19 cases. “You played politics with this virus, and you lost. You told the people of this state, you told the people of this country, the White House, ‘Don’t worry about it. Go about your business.’”

Cuomo makes no mention of the social costs of the economic lockdowns—mass unemployment, widespread bankruptcy, and surging mental health deterioration, drug abuse, and global poverty. Nor does he mention his state’s catastrophically high COVID death toll.

The extent to which policy decisions are linked to the high fatality rates in these states is still unknown. We’re in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic and still learning about the virus. But that is precisely why lawmakers should exercise caution in their policy prescriptions.

In his 1974 Nobel Prize speech, the economist F.A. Hayek warned against the temptation to use collective action with incomplete knowledge, saying such action would likely cause more harm than good.

“To act on the belief that we possess the knowledge and the power which enable us to shape the processes of society entirely to our liking, knowledge which in fact we do not possess, is likely to make us do much harm,” Hayek stated. “The recognition of the insuperable limits to his knowledge ought indeed to teach the student of society a lesson of humility which should guard him against becoming an accomplice in men’s fatal striving to control society – a striving which makes him not only a tyrant over his fellows, but which may well make him the destroyer of a civilization which no brain has designed but which has grown from the free efforts of millions of individuals.”

Hayek saw a world that increasingly seemed to believe central planners could solve any and all social problems. Such a worldview carried the seed of great harm, he believed.

We don’t yet know how this pandemic or economic collapse will end, but some have predicted it shaping up to be a blunder of historic proportions.

“The first half of 2020 will go down in history as the largest nationwide public policy failure since the Great Depression,” the economic historian Phil Magness recently observed. “A part of that failure derives from the largest wide-scale suppression of economic and social liberties in most of our lifetimes, all executed to negligible effect at solving the problem it intended to target.”

If Magness is correct, the crisis, though tragic, may also offer a healthy dose of an elixir Hayek would say humans desperately need: humility.

“The recognition of the insuperable limits to his knowledge ought indeed to teach the student of society a lesson of humility which should guard him against becoming an accomplice in men’s fatal striving to control society,” Hayek concluded in his address.

The lockdowns and the nursing home tragedies show just how destructive and fatal such striving to control society can be.

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EDITORS NOTE: This FEE column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

There is Only One Way to Prevent Shariah from Destroying America

I am not going to spend hours and hours to answer this question.  America, Israel, Canada, and other non Islamic countries can be spared their destruction from the evils of the Islamic ideology by only one method.

I am not a war monger, not do I desire any form of violence, or want to see innocent children harmed by a war in their country.  I am providing my professional analysis of a very serious problem.  The problem is the Islamic ideology.  It is an ideology that lives, breeds, and grows faster than any known terminal form of cancer.

If we do not want America to be destroyed it is going to take Americans saying no to Islam.  Not just with bumper stickers.  Americans are going to have to demand the Islamic ideology and Shariah law to be labeled as an Islamic terrorist group.

Al Qaeda, Hamas, Boko Haram, and the dozens of other Islamic terrorist groups are just splinters from the Islamic ideology itself.  There is no good with such violent groups as the KKK, Al Sharpton’s organization, or the Islamic ideology.

Think back the last decade, how many days have gone by in which Islam and their murderers have not been in the world news.  In the name of Islam, their fighters have murdered thousands upon thousands of innocent men, women, and children.

Americans must stand up and fight the ‘Holy War’ Islamic leaders have always expressed their desire for.  The days of shaking hands and allowing Islam to spread in America are gone.  There are approximately 2300 mosques in America. Their numbers are growing and existing mosques are expanding in size.

How do Americans fight? 

Again this is my analysis, not my desire.  During the civil war Americans (due to politics) had to fight other Americans.  Politicians left Americans with no choice.  In 2014 after six long years of Socialist Obama, politics are again pitting Americans against people living in America.  The people within Islam are not Americans, regardless of what a court or politician dictates.  One can only be an American if he/she vows to put the U.S. Constitution as the supreme law of the land.  An American vows to give his/her life for America against enemies from the inside and out.

The Islamic ideology and it’s followers living in America do not support the U.S. Constitution over Shariah law.  If a Muslim tells you he/she does, they are lying to you. The only solution to save America is for America to be a land for Americans only or those who would give their life to support the U.S. Constitution. If a person does not meet this requirement then he/she should be considered an enemy of America.

Boko Haram, the group that kidnapped 300 innocent Christian children in Nigeria are practicing Islam as Mohammed and Shariah law dictate.  They are not radical. They are ‘Pure Muslims’ who desire to live in a land as Mohammed wanted.  They are just carrying out his commands. See:

Shariah Law: Family Stones Pregnant Lady

Muslim Clerics Resist Stopping Child Marriages 

Trolley Square, SLC, Utah: Murders By Muslim

On 12 Feb 2007, a Muslim left a mosque in Salt Lake City, Utah.  He proceeded to Trolley Square Mall and murdered 5 innocent people in the name of Islam. I had personally conducted research at this mosque and rated it at the highest level for the potential of violence. This mosque is about a one minute walk to the Shopping Mall.

A bit of interesting trivia:

  • How many people die on average each year due to ‘Guns’?  30,000
  • How many people die on average each year due to ‘Alcohol’?  88,000
  • How many people die each year due to ‘Tobacco’?  443,000
  • How many Babies’ are murdered each year in the name of ‘Abortion’?  1.7 million

Do readers truly believe politicians, our law enforcement, media, or liberals really want to save Americans from needless death?  Why do they choose to put guns as their number one enemy, when a hundred times more die from Alcohol or Tobacco?  A thousand times more innocent babies are killed by abortions each year in America than people killed by guns (30,000).

It would be more appropriate for these hypocrites to ban alcohol, tobacco, and stop murdering innocent children if they really care about human life. The fact is, sadly, they don’t care.

When will the killing in Florida ever stop?

The title of my column comes from the March 9th front page featured story from the Palm Beach Post concerning the loss of forty children in 2013 who were under the control of the Florida Department of Children & Families. Losing forty innocent children in 2013 is forty lives that could have been saved, especially when you see the negligent ways these innocent children lost their lives while under the state of Florida’s care. My heart goes out to each and every one of them and I pray that the Florida Department of Children & Families does a better job protecting the innocent in 2014.

Now, let’s look at another topic that is near and dear to my heart. One that has been “killing” since January 22nd, 1973. One that has killed over 56 million babies in our country – ABORTION

In Palm Beach County alone 5,808 children were aborted in 2013. In the state of Florida there were 71,503 abortions in 2013. Once again, not to take away from the importance of the “forty” lives that were lost in the same year in Florida through the Department of Children & Families – how can one even begin to compare “forty” deaths to 71,503?

It doesn’t even come close. Just think about that for one minute. Same state, same year. While the article on these “forty” lives was rightfully featured on the front page of the Palm Beach Post – when are we ever going to see that 71,503 figure on any front page in any newspaper in our beloved state let alone the country?

Over 71,000 babies butchered in Florida this past year and not a word is spoken or written about it. How about a daily death count of the “56 million” who have been murdered in America since that now infamous Roe v. Wade decision 41 years ago? Their deaths will probably never see ink wasted to remember them or tell their stories.

danielsacks

Dr. Daniel N. Sacks

Only because we live in a “culture of death” and we have a liberal President in the White House who embraces it, endorses it, promotes it, and funds it. So, it is up to “Pro-Lifers” to go out during these “40 Days for Life” to pray at these abortion clinics and to demonstrate at abortionist’s offices like that of Dr. Daniel N. Sacks of Palm Beach-Wellington Women’s Care.

Who out there is going to join the Pro-Lifers tomorrow or on any of these 40 days? Who out there really even cares? Who out there has just given up and says “there’s nothing I can do to stop abortion?” Who out there claims to be Christian and just turns a blind eye and a deaf ear to these intrinsic evils that attack our beloved communities every single day? Who out there is just going through the motions each and every day and is more worried about whether it is going to rain tomorrow for the Marlins game at Roger Dean or whether they will be able to get to their favorite restaurant this evening in time to catch the “early bird” special”?

With more and more “selfies” taken on an hourly basis in our country – that is what our vain society has come to – SELFIES – as in SELFISHNESS. All about me. I guess that is the “thing to do” today. Take a picture of yourself with your own “self”-phone and send it to everybody you know – and hope it goes viral. Wow! That’s real meaningful. So productive and self righteous. With Facebook, Twitter and all these other annoying ways to entertain ourselves – we have forgotten about others and it’s all about “OURSELVES” – the evil foundation of the “selfie”.

What ever happened to the word “groupie”? That was big in the 60’s & 70’s with all the rock bands. I kinda wish that word would come back. I prefer the term “groupies” over “selfies” any day. But, only if those groupies are doing something constructive and Christian-like – as in praying in groups in front of abortion clinics and demonstrating in groups with our “Pro-Life” signs in front of abortionist’s offices. Put your “self-phone” away – delete all your “selfies”, skip an early bird special this Lent – and HAVE THE COURAGE TO PROTECT THE UNBORN!!

RELATED VIDEOS:

The first half of this is overlaid with good music and the second half is a talk by a scientist who explains that the complexity by which the instructions for human development are coded into our DNA and carried out by the mother are beyond all mathematical and human comprehension.

[youtube]http://youtu.be/FF4uR0MRGxA[/youtube]



This video is not secular but its short, heart-warming, and powerful.  It has an audio track of a young child singing and talking to his/her mother who aborted them letting her know how much they love her and want to be with her while they are safe and being loved in Heaven. THIS IS A VERY TOUCHING VIDEO…

[youtube]http://youtu.be/8GzjO14Yetc[/youtube]

 

This video is from a business called “Baby Center” that has its own website and other related videos as well.  The video is good but short.  They have three more that I am aware of on their YouTube site that cover the remaining weeks of gestation.

[youtube]http://youtu.be/4l9GE_eaMSs[/youtube]

 

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Hillary Clinton: Abortion Needed for Equality —and Human Development…

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is by Miss Monica Elizabeth and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.