and Pierre Gosselin
COVID 19 deaths in Japan diverts attention from growing number of suicides
It’s a long known but also a tragically long ignored problem in Japan: suicide.
With all the focus on COVID-19 nowadays, other more pressing problems often fall off the radar and get ignored.
One problem in Japan is suicide. And while economic hardship intensifies as stricter measures are implemented to avert COVID-19 deaths, suicides will surely increase.
Moreover, in the media the focus remains on the daily “new cases found”, which serves for spectacular headlines which spread panic among, but distracts from the reality. Deaths from COVID-19 are tapering off in many countries
Looking at the new daily COVID-19 deaths in Japan, we see that daily deaths are now very low:
Chart source: Worldometer.
Yet, the panic continues.
Suicides: 9336, COVID 19 deaths: 973
When we compare COVID-19 deaths to those caused by suicide over the past months since COVID-19 pandemic began, we see what the much bigger problem is:
Data sources: here and here.
As the chart above depicts, there have been a total of 9336 suicides as of the end of June, compared to 973 COVID-19 deaths. Yet, all the panic is about COVID-19
In Japan, so far 0.8 people per 100,000 people have died from COVID-19. Meanwhile, 16 people per 100,000 people die due to suicide each year.
In the past when the economy deteriorated, suicide rates rose 50%, to 24 people per 100,000.
So although the lock-down measures may be reducing COVID-19 deaths, the economic hardship is causing a far greater cause of death, suicide, to soar by 50%.
The situation is similar or worse in many other developed countries. The price of preventing one death by COVID-19 death is probably many more in terms of suicides, never mind those resulting from poverty-caused illnesses.
Let’s get our eye back on the ball, and away from the sidelines.