Sunday, May 24, 2020

COVID-19 Deaths vs. Suicides

Bay Area channel 7 quotes a trauma surgeon who says that he is seeing more lockdown-related suicides than COVID-19 deaths and believes isolation needs to end.

I confess this surprises me, but I am a pretty optimistic person, and my income does require me to go to work except at the far side of the house.  People whose identity is tied to their work, or being cynical, to pub crawling are doubtless having a rough time 


  1. The lost business from lockdown is going to cost a LOT more lives from business failures and job losses in the 3rd world end of the supply chain where there are no 'safety nets' than it does in the US.

    I did a quick back-of-the-envelope scenario based upon the number of "excess" suicides in the 2008 recession ( and how much worse in personal and business bankruptcies this one is going to be, and any way I ran the numbers the US COVID-19 deaths deferred by lockdown exceeded the consequent US suicides by at least two orders of magnitude. I'm not saying I'm right, but I think it would be a hard case to make comparing deaths vs deaths that the lockdowns were the wrong choice, especially at the beginning when so much less was known and there was greater expectation that hospital capacity would be exceeded in many places.

    (Mostly, I want people to be able to talk about such things without being accused of wanting to kill grandma, or without having the conversation squashed it starts to lead to conclusions that differ from official wisdom)

    Just as the severity of COVID case clusters varies by region and city, the severity of the economic fallout will also. So it won't surprise me if Washington DC has few suicides but Tulsa has many more suicides than COVID-19 deaths.

  2. Trauma surgeons don't see COVID19 deaths - it's hospitalists who do. Trauma surgeons are entitled to their opinion, but that's what it is, an opinion, not a data point.

    A friend who is a hospitalist has pronounced plenty of COVID19 deaths.