HHS Leaders Cite Health Concerns Beyond Virus

Drug addiction, suicide, and unattended health screenings highlighted.

During President Trump’s cabinet meeting last week, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Abuse Elinore McCance-Katz weighed in on the health fallout from extended lockdowns.

Secretary Azar said, “We’ve got to get life back to normal… the right mindset for reopening is not about balancing health versus the economy. It’s actually about balancing health versus health. By one estimate, the virus-induced recession will see an extra 65,000 deaths from suicide, drug overdose, alcohol abuse in the coming years. Possibly even more.”

He said that mammograms and colonoscopies are down 87 and 90 percent, respectively, and indicated that the drop in screenings during the crisis may result in hundreds of thousands of undiagnosed cancer cases. He further voice concerns about millions of pediatric vaccinations missed during the pandemic lockdown. He concluded, “we have the strategy and the recipe to support the safe reopening of our economy. And for the sake of Americans’ health and wellbeing, we’ve got to support this and move ahead with safe reopening.”

Dr. McCance-Katz stated “the research literature is clear on the effects of quarantine and stay-at-home practices on mental health. We know that the longer the duration of these orders, the greater the intensity of the mental health problems experienced.” She said that anxiety, depression, and stress disorders may persist for years to come in families whose lives have been “drastically changed for extended lengths of time.” She also pointed out the increasing instances of suicide and drug overdose. 

“When we look at strategies to reopen, as a medical doctor, I ask that you take into account whole health, not just one narrow aspect of physical health,” the assistant secretary said. “Of course, containing the effects of coronavirus are critically important, but so too is preventing suicide. So too is keeping a person from being terrified to ever leave their home. So too is protecting the mental health of our nation’s young people,” she said.

As the Lord Leads, Pray with Us…

  • For President Trump to effectively oversee the transition into the next stage of the Executive Branch. 
  • For Chief of Staff Meadows to manage the transition plan with care and strong leadership.
  • That God would guide the result of the upcoming election to be the best for our nation. 

Sources: NPR, Center for Presidential Transition


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