As many cities shut down businesses to curb the spread of COVID-19, small businesses were forced to furlough employees to stay afloat. A recent study published in the American Journal of Public Health found that pandemic-related job losses have been fatal. In fact, over 30,000 deaths in the US between April 2020 and March 2021 were linked to unemployment.
Researchers said that widespread job losses mean loss of healthcare access and increases in substance abuse and suicide. The report found that Black Americans have been disproportionately affected by such job cuts, accounting for 19% of deaths while only making up 12% of the US population. The same goes with the less educated population, with citizens with a high school education or less comprising about 72% of unemployment-related deaths. In April 2020, when the US implemented country-wide lockdowns, the national unemployment rate reached a record high of 14.7%. This measure also meant a loss of health insurance for many families.
Knowing these staggering figures, should lockdowns continue in the name of curbing the spread of COVID-19?