Over the last ten weeks, more than 40 million Americans have filed for unemployment benefits, and one-third of small businesses won’t reopen. These numbers represent real people with lost paychecks and shattered dreams.
Economic consequences breed societal problems. Alcohol and drug abuse have skyrocketed, with hard liquor sales up by about 75 percent. Prescriptions for anti-anxiety medication are up by about one-third. Community experts worry about associated spikes in domestic violence and suicides.
The national Disaster Distress Helpline saw a 338 percent increase in call volume in March compared with February. Suicide rates generally rise by about one percent for every one percentage point increase in unemployment.
Patients are avoiding necessary care due to unnecessary hospital restrictions against seeing non-emergency patients. Oncologists, who treat cancer patients, have recently seen their patient counts fall by nearly half. Sadly, we will have more victims of Covid who never had the virus.
Extending stay-at-home orders could cause “irreparable damage,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, the lead member of the White House coronavirus task force, on May 22nd. “I don’t want people to think that any of us feel that staying locked down for a prolonged period of time is the way to go.”
Read the full oped on Breitbart.com from Alfredo Ortiz who is the president and CEO of the Job Creators Network and C.L. Gray who is the president and founder of Physicians for Reform and a physician in western North Carolina.