Do you chop off someone’s head to treat an ailment? The illness might be mild, moderate, or severe, but obviously killing the person altogether is certainly not an option. This simple analogy as applied to national health and well-being is something most Western governments never took into account when, for the first time in history, they executed severe lockdowns, rather than targeted quarantines, to deal with a virus.
None of these governments have endeavored to model how much life will be lost from the shutdown of physical health care treatments, the trauma and mental health consequences of the shutdown, and the cascading physical and mental toll of mass unemployment and national depression. Now a group of Swiss and American researchers have conducted a study to try to quantify at least the mental and emotional toll on the populations affected and the corresponding years of life that will be lost forever.
“The study projects that the average person would suffer 0.205 YLL [years of life lost] due to psychosocial consequence of COVID-19 mitigation measures. However, this loss would be entirely borne by 2.1% of the population, who will suffer an average 9.79 YLL,” the researchers concluded.
The group of psychiatrists and child physiologists from institutions such as the University of Bonn, Lausanne University Hospital, and Mount Sinai in New York City focused on the short-term and long-term psychological consequences of a three-month shutdown on years of life lost in Switzerland. The consequences they factored in were suicide, depression, alcohol use disorder, childhood trauma due to domestic violence, changes in marital status, and social isolation – all due to the public policy decisions. The direct impact of economic decline, financial hardship, or daily lifestyle changes were not factored in, only adverse mental health effects.