We keep daily track of the number of new Covid-19 cases that are exploding throughout this country. In Northampton County, 236 new cases were reported on November 28. If most families ignored the admonitions about large family gatherings on Thanksgiving, as I suspect, you can expect another spike in a few days. I understand the importance of tracking this pandemic, but we are doing a shitty job of tracking similar problems - drug overdoses and suicide - that go hand-in-hand.
In Philly, there's been a spike in overdose deaths among restaurant workers, many of whom are laid off as a result of the pandemic. But how big is this problem throughout the state and country? No one really has current data.
The same problem exists with suicide. Japan, one of the countries that has had an excellent response to Covid-19, is one of the few countries that track suicides. It reports 2,153 deaths by suicide in October. That one month tally exceeds all the deaths caused by Covid-19 in that nation. It is believed these suicides are mostly from people who have lost their jobs as a result of what has happened.
Unfortunately, the latest suicide figures in the US are from 2018.
We should be tracking both Covid-19 and the drug overdose deaths and suicides caused by the corresponding economic downturn.