President Donald Trump has spent the better part of the past several months justifying the reopening despite the COVID-19 pandemic by saying that people are dying whether it was from the coronavirus or something else.
“I mean, we have never closed the country before, and we have had some pretty bad flus, and we have had some pretty bad viruses” Trump said at a Fox News town hall in March. “You’re going to have suicides by the thousands.”
“People get tremendous anxiety and depression, and you have suicides over things like this when you have terrible economies. You have death,” he said at a press briefing that same month. “Probably and — I mean, definitely — would be in far greater numbers than the numbers that we’re talking about with regard to the virus.”
But according to public health data, there’s nothing that substantiates Trump’s claim.
Emergency room physician Jeremy Samuel Faust wrote for the Washington Post explained that there are legitimate questions about the pandemic’s toll on mental health but making up anecdotal information to justify rebuilding Trump’s economy isn’t helping anyone.
“Some of the impact may have more to do with the continuing inability to control the virus, and with the ensuing economic fallout, than with Americans’ staying home for weeks and even months in the spring,” he wrote. “That said, a rise in suicides or other suffering resulting from temporary stay-home advisories is neither guaranteed nor inevitable. To get this right, both now and in the future, we have to keep asking the right questions and awaiting the actual answers — and remember that the questions themselves, no matter how obvious their implications might seem, do not provide the answers. They remain what they are: questions.”