The shutdowns that state governments foolishly imposed in a futile, as I think, effort to stop the COVID-19 virus disproportionately impacted young people, who had hardly any vulnerability to the virus. Most significantly, young people were deprived of a year or more of effective education, along with the opportunity to interact with their friends and participate in school-related activities. The effects will be with us for a generation.
At AmericanExperiment.org, my colleague Martha Njolomole records the fact that in Minnesota, our governor’s shutdown was responsible for a significant number of deaths: “Deaths from drug overdose up 27% in Minnesota, COVID-19 restrictions to blame.”
On May 3rd, the Minnesota Department of Health reported that in 2020, Minnesota saw a total of 1,008 deaths from a drug overdose. This represents a 27 percent increase from 2019 when 792 individuals died due to the same cause.
This is not just the continuation of a trend, as overdose deaths declined in 2018 and 2019.
This chart shows the number of overdose deaths in 2019 and 2020 by age group:
The median age of “covid death” in Minnesota–this means deaths where the word “covid” appears on the death certificate, even though the actual cause of death was a car accident, a stroke, or falling down a flight of stairs–is 83. Overdose deaths, on the other hand, are concentrated among the young, who have been devastated by school closings, lack of employment, social isolation, and denial of access to “elective” or “non-essential” health care.
These numbers tell the story:
In 2020, 274 individuals aged 25-34 died from an overdose, while only 15 died from COVID-19. To put it in perspective, individuals aged 25-34 were 18 times more likely to die from overdose than from COVID-19. It is similar with individuals aged 35-44, although to a lesser extent–– individuals in this group were 4 times more likely to die from overdose than COVID-19 in 2020.
The biggest discrepancy in risk is among individuals aged 15-24––they were 40 times more likely to die from an overdose than from COVID-19.
There are copious footnotes at the link, including data supporting the causal connection between Governor Tim Walz’s improvident shutdowns and overdose deaths. No doubt one would see similar numbers in other states. In my opinion, our governments’ response to the Wuhan virus is the worst public policy disaster since the Vietnam War, largely because of the ways in which governments have callously sacrificed America’s youth.