US overdose deaths hit record 93,000 in pandemic last year

Link: https://apnews.com/article/overdose-deaths-record-covid-pandemic-fd43b5d91a81179def5ac596253b0304

Excerpt:

Overdose deaths soared to a record 93,000 last year in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. government reported Wednesday.

That estimate far eclipses the high of about 72,000 drug overdose deaths reached the previous year and amounts to a 29% increase.

“This is a staggering loss of human life,” said Brandon Marshall, a Brown University public health researcher who tracks overdose trends.

Author(s): Mike Stobbe

Publication Date: 14 July 2021

Publication Site: Associated Press

More evidence suggests COVID-19 was in US by Christmas 2019

Link: https://tucson.com/news/national/more-evidence-suggests-covid-19-was-in-us-by-christmas-2019/article_2235808e-a75b-55dd-aaeb-6a17877d03d8.html?utm_campaign=snd-autopilot&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter_

Excerpt:

NEW YORK (AP) — A new analysis of blood samples from 24,000 Americans taken early last year is the latest and largest study to suggest that the new coronavirus popped up in the U.S. in December 2019 — weeks before cases were first recognized by health officials.

The analysis is not definitive, and some experts remain skeptical, but federal health officials are increasingly accepting a timeline in which small numbers of COVID-19 infections may have occurred in the U.S. before the world ever became aware of a dangerous new virus erupting in China.

…..

The pandemic coronavirus emerged in Wuhan, China in late 2019. Officially, the first U.S. infection to be identified was a traveler — a Washington state man who returned from Wuhan on Jan. 15 and sought help at a clinic on Jan. 19.

CDC officials initially said the spark that started the U.S. outbreak arrived during a three-week window from mid-January to early February. But research since then — including some done by the CDC — has suggested a small number of infections occurred earlier. 

Author(s): Mike Stobbe

Publication Date: 15 June 2021

Publication Site: Tuscon.com, from AP

US suicides dropped last year, defying pandemic expectations

Link: https://medicalxpress.com/news/2021-04-suicides-year-defying-pandemic.html

Excerpt:

The number of U.S. suicides fell nearly 6% last year amid the coronavirus pandemic—the largest annual decline in at least four decades, according to preliminary government data.

Death certificates are still coming in and the count could rise. But officials expect a substantial decline will endure, despite worries that COVID-19 could lead to more suicides.

It is hard to say exactly why suicide deaths dropped so much, but one factor may be a phenomenon seen in the early stages of wars and national disasters, some experts suggested.

Author(s): Mike Stobbe

Publication Date: 9 April 2021

Publication Site: Medical Xpress