They called it a “mass casualty incident”—meaning there are more victims than resources available to help.
Psychiatrist Dr. Carole Lieberman, who has a masters in public health, told NTD there are other health consequences to the lockdown that need to be considered.
“There are people committing suicide. There’s child abuse, there’s domestic violence that has increased, all of these things. So there are consequences and they have to be weighed along with these numbers of people being admitted to the hospital or ICU and so on,” she said in an interview.
In their letter to President Donald Trump, the doctors said that the lockdowns are causing 150,000 Americans a month to miss out on early cancer detection. They also cited a seven-fold increase in calls to suicide hotlines since the lockdowns began.
Lieberman referenced studies that show people who watched the twin towers fall over and over on the news developed post traumatic stress disorder. She said staying home and constantly watching the news about the virus is no different.
“We’re watching the news of how many people are dying, and we’re watching, you know, other kinds of frightening, life threatening things, and it’s happening to us, too,” she said.
Dr. Lieberman cautioned against following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s strict guidelines on reopening. She said it may take too long to get the infection parameters low enough to satisfy the requirements. Meanwhile, people would continue to suffer from the harmful effects of isolation.
“Those conditions alone can cause physical and psychological problems, from heart attacks physically, to anxiety, depression, suicidal ideation. So staying at home is not without consequences,” she said.
In the meantime, she says it’s important to be creative and use the downtime to read a book you never had time for, or catch up with old friends.
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