As the pandemic continues to affect Black and other communities of color disproportionately, health experts are warning of a new mental health crisis linked to the coronavirus outbreak: an increase in suicides among Blacks.
Measures suggested by health officials to curb the spread of the virus, including social distancing, may lead to isolation and suicide for some people with depression and anxiety.
Although suicides and suicide attempts for Black adults historically lag behind white and Native American adults, new data shows a disturbing rise in Black young people trying to end their lives.
Suicide attempts rose 73% between 1991 and 2017 among Black high school students while suicidal thoughts and plans for suicide fell for all teens, according to a study published in November in the journal Pediatrics.
The rise in suicides by young Black people has prompted mental health advocates to call on the federal government to pay more attention and research funding to the Black suicide crisis.
MORE ON THE PANDEMIC
Speaking during a webinar with Stanford School of Medicine, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, said that young people who are not getting seriously ill from the coronavirus must think not only about their personal responsibilities but their societal responsibilities in the fight against the pandemic.
“Although you may not get sick, almost certainly you’re going to infect somebody else, who almost certainly infects somebody else and then you will get a vulnerable person who will be sick, who will go to the hospital, who might die,” said Fauci.
The Trump administration is considering offering financial incentives to state and local governments that reopen schools. During an interview, White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow suggested the idea while doubling down on Trump’s comment about defunding schools that do not reopen. The White House has been told it cannot withhold existing funding from schools to get them to open their classrooms. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) is working on a proposal to be included in the next stimulus bill.
As many states grapple with rising coronavirus cases, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is extending help to other cities, saying that lessons could be learned from his state’s experience with the virus. On Saturday, New York City had its first 24-hour period since March without a death from the coronavirus.
In his daily news briefing on Monday, Cuomo told Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, “anything we can do we stand ready. You have more than risen to the occasion.”
Bottoms, who tested positive for Covid-19 along with her husband, talked about some of the challenges the city is currently facing, including a near-shortage of hospital beds.
More than 200 universities are joining Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s legal challenge to the Trump administration’s new restrictions on international students, who will face deportation if schools offer all classes remotely in the fall.
The lawsuit argues that the policy puts students’ health and safety in jeopardy and forces schools to change fall plans they have spent months preparing.
Briefs of support have also been filed by scientific associations, student governments, education unions and 71 higher education associations.
A judge is scheduled to hear arguments Tuesday in the case brought by Harvard and MIT. If the judge does not suspend the rule, colleges across the U.S. will have until Wednesday to notify ICE if they plan to be fully online this fall.
Miami is quickly becoming the next epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak, says top health officials and epidemiologists in the state. This weekend, Florida hit a state and national record with almost 15,300 new confirmed cases in a single day. Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach, which make up about a quarter of the state’s population, is responsible for about half the new cases.
Protesters held up signs and blocked buses with branches in Detroit as in-person summer school classes for 500 students began on Monday. Critics of the district’s move say in-person learning is too risky as the virus continues to spread out of control.
Students and staff are required to wear masks and class sizes will be limited to 10-15 students per teacher.
After an outbreak of the coronavirus at a Wentzille, Missouri General Motors plant, about 1,200 workers will be temporarily laid off amid infection concerns in the community. There have been at least 23 Covid-19 cases in the plant. Layoffs are scheduled to begin July 20.
Smoking in young adults increases the risk of severe Covid-19, says new research published Monday in the Journal of Adolescent Health.
Researchers of the study surveyed more than 8,000 participants ages 18 to 25 to see what their medical vulnerability to severe Covid-19 was in relation to risk indicators, including health conditions and smoking habits. Thirty-two percent of those surveyed were medically vulnerable for severe Covid-19. But when those young people who smoked cigarettes or e-cigarettes were removed from the analysis, the percentage dropped by half.
Research also found that young adult men were at a higher risk for severe Covid-19, despite women having asthma and immune conditions. In addition, white young adults had the highest vulnerability than other ethnic groups.
In efforts to curb the spread of Covid-19, the NFL and sports equipment company Oakley have designed a face shield for players in the league. The specially designed helmet with the built-in face shield blocks the transmission of droplets while promoting air flow, communication and sound waves. Several prototypes are currently being tested for use during the upcoming season.