Is the Pandemic Sparking Suicide?

The mental health toll of the coronavirus pandemic is only beginning to show itself, and it is too early to predict the scale of the impact.

The coronavirus pandemic is an altogether different kind of cataclysm — an ongoing, wavelike, poorly understood threat that seems to be both everywhere and nowhere, a contagion nearly as psychological as it is physical. Death feels closer, even well away from the front lines of emergency rooms, and social isolation — which in pre-Covid times was often a sign of a mind turning in on itself — is the new normal for tens of millions of people around the world.

The ultimate marker of the virus’s mental toll, some experts say, will show up in the nation’s suicide rate, in this and coming years. The immediate effect is not at all clear, despite President Trump’s recent claim that lockdown conditions were causing deaths. “Just

Read More

Coronavirus Live Updates: In Senate Hearing, Top Officials Paint Bleak Picture of Pandemic

[singing] Singing: “Oh, brother, I want you to keep on marchin’. And one of these days, and one of these days, you shall be free.” Albany, Ga., became an epicenter for Covid-19 in April. Hundreds of cases were traced to two funeral services, and led to one of the highest death rates in the country. “It was like a tornado that nobody prepared for. Our churches weren’t prepared for it, and before we knew it, people were dropping like flies.” Pastor Orson Burton lost members of his congregation in the surge, including his wife’s father. “I can see the park.” “You can see the park?” “But we can’t go to the park.” “No.” “It’s still not safe.” “No.” “Because the whole world is sick.” “Yeah, but we’re praying that the world gets better, right?” On April 20, Gov. Brian Kemp announced small businesses could reopen less than three weeks after

Read More

This Is the Future of the Pandemic

By now we know — contrary to false predictions — that the novel coronavirus will be with us for a rather long time.

“Exactly how long remains to be seen,” said Marc Lipsitch, an infectious disease epidemiologist at Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health. “It’s going to be a matter of managing it over months to a couple of years. It’s not a matter of getting past the peak, as some people seem to believe.”

A single round of social distancing — closing schools and workplaces, limiting the sizes of gatherings, lockdowns of varying intensities and durations — will not be sufficient in the long term.

In the interest of managing our expectations and governing ourselves accordingly, it might be helpful, for our pandemic state of mind, to envision this predicament — existentially, at least — as a soliton wave: a wave that just keeps rolling and rolling, carrying

Read More

How Small Physician Practices are Struggling to Survive During Coronavirus Pandemic

Autumn Road in Little Rock, Ark., is the type of doctor’s practice that has been around long enough to be treating the grandchildren of its eldest patients.

For 50 years, the group has been seeing families like Kelli Rutledge’s. A technician for a nearby ophthalmology practice, she has been going to Autumn Road for two decades.

The group’s four doctors and two nurse practitioners quickly adapted to the coronavirus pandemic, sharply cutting back clinic hours and switching to virtual visits to keep patients and staff safe.

When Kelli, 54, and her husband, Travis, 56, developed symptoms of Covid-19, the couple drove to the group’s office and spoke to the nurse practitioner over the phone. “She documented all of our symptoms,” Ms. Rutledge said. They were swabbed from their car.

While the practice was never a big moneymaker, its revenues have plummeted. The number of patients seen daily by providers has

Read More