# tide is turning..., page-242

1. 10,976 Posts.
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"But if we just let Covid run, what that 200 jump to 2,000, then 5,000, then...."

My entire problem with this situation is that it is focused on that sole, and indeterminate, number - i.e., how many will die from Covid.

What it overlooks is the unintended consequences , i.e., the deaths and reduced life expectancy and the despair from continuation of the current strategy.

Even if the number of Covid deaths ends up being 5,000; heck even 10,000 deaths, what are the arising deaths from the strategy that is in place that seeks to avoid those 5,000 (or 10,000 deaths)?

Sydney University's Brain and Mind Institute estimates that suicide rates under various unemployment scenarios could increase by between 750 to 1,500 per year (https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-05-07/national-suicide-register-needed-coronavirus-surge/12208668).

But looking only a "number of deaths" misses an important issue, and that is "what kind of deaths are being avoided compared to deaths being caused, due to economic shutdowns"?

Let's explore this further:

The median age of people dying of Covid in Australia is 84.
That is higher than national life expectancy of around 80 years.

So these people whose lives are saved might have had only a one or two years of life remaining.

But clearly, the age of suicides is a lot lower; 44 years (source: Australian Bureau of Statistics).
So these people, who would suicide, would still have lived for another 36 years (80 years life expectancy less suicide age of 44)

If we analyse the situation based on the total number of life-years saved from Covid versus lost due to suicide, we get the following:

Number of life-years saved = 10,000 Covid deaths x 2 years = 20,000 life-years

Number of life-years lost = 750 suicide deaths x 36 years = 27,000 life-years (and note that - in the interests of conservativeness - I've used the lower of the Brain and Mind Institute's estimates)

So, even before we consider any other unintended deaths from economic shutdown (eg, stress-related, domestic violence, medical neglect, reduced life expectancy) , the ledger in terms of economic lockdown, after accounting just for elevated suicides, is in the red.

Yet, it is a conversation no one wants to have.

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Last edited by : 02/08/20