At what point are the losses from the shutdown greater than the losses from COVID-19 itself? Considering this question comes not from a cold heart, but a warm one. We need to remember the invisible victims and consider their needs, too, as we decide the best course of action.
I do not hate my mom. Many in the media and some friends on social media seem to believe I do hate my mom, as well as other older people with compromised immune systems.
For more than a decade my mom has been taking potent drugs that suppress her immune system. I become a hypochondriac whenever a visit approaches. Is my throat scratchy? Could I be getting a cold? Something worse than a cold? I am keenly aware that my health affects not only her health, but her life expectancy.
But the thought that we need to consider the costs of shutting down economic activity is viewed with horror! The cultural message of the moment is that I value money more than people. But the human costs of our national shutdown are enormous.
Social isolation, the loss of productive work, limiting exercise opportunities, and removing control over our lives will produce significant mental and physical health problems. The research connecting these factors to well-being is well established.
We can be confident that the intensity of symptoms have increased for people who currently suffer from depression and anxiety. Further we can be confident that new cases of depression and anxiety are on the rise, as are problems with alcoholism, drug abuse, and domestic violence. Lives and relationships are being ruined and, yes, some of these people will die.