If I ask you to predict half a month and a half ago, as the United States began to lock in the number of suicides and road deaths in 2020, whether the number of suicides and road deaths will rise or fall, you might guess that the former will be more and the latter will be much less. When I say “you”, I mean all of you. It seems to be a fait accommodating fact that mass unemployment, severe social isolation, and various life interruptions brought about by pandemic life (for example, school closures) will drive some people to live a normal life when they would have been. Good time. And because so many businesses and workplaces are closed, and so many Americans are afraid of gathering and risking infection, there are far fewer reasons to drive, and therefore fewer dangerous car accidents.
The basic logic in both cases. It is also wrong in both cases.
First, the traffic accident:
The non-profit organization National Safety Council (National Safety Council) estimated in a report released on Thursday that by 2020, 42,060 people will die in car accidents. An increase of 8% over 2019, the first increase in four years.
In addition, the fatality rate per 100 million miles soared by 24%, the largest annual percentage increase since Parliament began collecting data in 1923…
The death toll last year was The highest since 2007, when 43,945 people were killed in a car accident. In addition, the Safety Committee estimates that 4.8 million people were injured in crashes last year.
Although the number of Americans driving has decreased by 13% compared to 2019, the number of fatalities in traffic accidents increased last year. how is it?
Indirect evidence suggests that drivers take greater risks. “USA Today” noted that the Minnesota State Patrol last year issued twice the number of tickets for speeds exceeding 100 mph in 2019. It is precisely because of the reduced congestion on the roads that drivers drive like lunatics, which means more fatal accidents. Hit the pole at 40 mph and you may survive; hit the same pole at 80 mph and there is no pandemic pressure may also be the cause of this situation: a depressed, depressed mood The driver will be more distracted. Increased use of alcohol and drugs during a pandemic must mean that more people are affected.
To make a long story short, it’s basically Thunderdome on American roads. There are fewer people driving, but the average driver you meet is more likely to be in dangerous headspace. The result: more deaths.
It is more difficult to explain the decline in suicide rate:
Politicians have repeatedly told us that the blockade has led to an increase in suicide deaths. We always ask to see the data. Now that we have it, obviously, this is not true. In 2020, the number of suicide deaths is lower than the previous three years. https://t.co/YbLCmd0c3o pic.twitter.com/PNEshYyQfV
—Elizabeth Jacobs, PhD 🏴☠️ (@TheAngryEpi) April 4, 2021
This seems unlikely to make you doubt whether the data is correct. I should note that this is “preliminary”, so it may eventually be revised upwards. But suppose it is correct. What explanation can you imagine? I asked this question on Twitter and got some smart replies:
1. Although the suicide rate has fallen, fatal overdose has risen. Some people feel frustrated by excessive drug use, and may eventually die because of this, and may have already been killed by OD.
2. Similarly, some people who may die by suicide, especially the elderly, eventually succumb to COVID.
3. Despite the large-scale unemployment, due to stimulus measures and increased federal unemployment, the financial situation of some lower-class people may temporarily improve. A poll conducted by Gallup in June last year two months after the embargo began found that Americans are more optimistic about their financial situation than in 2017. Some people who may succumb to despair due to poverty during normal times and die by suicide may be relieved by COVID.
4. Forcing people to isolate themselves from their families may lead to more meaningful social interactions, which inspires their emotions. I heard many parents say that although it is difficult for them to get an education, they have spent extra quality time with their children in the past year. Some adults’ lives deteriorate due to work pressure, and they may regain the will to live by spending more time with their relatives, thus gaining an unexpected perspective.
5. People who commit suicide rarely do things in front of others. Even if people who commit suicide do not like to spend extra time with their families, from a purely logistical point of view, isolation reduces their lonely time. As Alex Griswold said, spouse and children are in such a situation that they monitor each other almost 24 hours a day. Fewer chances of suicide means fewer suicides.
6. Some of us do better than being forced to mix with others. People with social anxiety disorder no longer need to go to the office every day and feel the “trial” of the people around them, and the stress may be relieved after being allowed to work at home. or Maybe the opposite is true. The loneliness before the pandemic spread throughout the population. People who were depressed and frustrated by keeping few social connections before the pandemic suddenly saw others extend their arms to greet them. A little extra virtual social activity may be enough to prevent certain suicides.
7. Many Twitter friends pointed out that knowing that other people are isolated from the world may make some depressed people feel less uncomfortable with them. It’s easy to feel hopeless when everyone except you seems to be going well. “What’s wrong with me, why can’t I be happy?” FOMO factors exacerbated the pain. But when everyone is miserable for the same reason, depressed people are no longer so harsh on themselves. Everyone was suddenly sitting in the same boat, even though each of them was in their own cabin. Eliminating the fear of missing the game may have saved some lives.
The ominous thing about all of the above is that after the pandemic is over, most factors indicate that the number of suicides has increased. As most Americans start gatherings, the FOMO factor will return dramatically. In many cases, the lonely will be forced to return to the office; the family will be scattered during the day; and federal generosity will end.Of course, there will be more social opportunities avoid If some people are forced to stay at home for a longer period of time, they will commit suicide and commit suicide. However, if we now have to predict whether more or fewer people will die of their own lives in 2021 than last year, then I don’t know that “reduction” is a strong bet, simply because this country will soon Will return to normal.
By the way, look again at the 2020 column in the above tweet. From diabetes to stroke to Alzheimer’s disease to heart disease to “accidental injury”, the death toll has risen sharply. One of the reasons may be that comorbidities are listed as the cause of death certificates in COVID cases. I think another reason is that people are more reluctant to seek medical treatment for diseases not related to COVID during the pandemic because they are worried about being infected in the hospital. I remember the EMT report in New York City last spring that after receiving a 911 call, they arrived and found that the number of people killed in their house was abnormally higher than in normal years. Presumably, this is because many Americans try to manage pre-existing diseases as much as possible, try to stay away from the doctor’s office, and finally seek help when they encounter a crisis. COVID did not cause these deaths, but it is an indirect important contributor.