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ER visits for suicide attempts, overdoses, domestic violence soared during first part of pandemic: study

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During the coronavirus pandemic, more Americans have been visiting emergency rooms for overdoses, suicide attempts, and domestic abuse, according to a study published Wednesday.

A study of almost 190 million U.S. emergency department (ED) visits found that “visit rates for mental health conditions, suicide attempts, all drug and opioid overdoses, intimate partner violence, and child abuse and neglect were higher in mid-March through October 2020 […] compared with the same period in 2019.”

The report released by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) says its findings suggest that priorities for ED care and use shifted due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on public health. This shift, the study says, underscores “mental health, substance use, and violence risk screening and prevention needs during public health crises.”

The study states that the pandemic and the lockdown measures first implemented in March 2020, as well as the social and economic issues made worse by both, “may affect mental health, suicidal behavior, substance use, and violence.”

Throughout the pandemic, a litany of reports and studies have found that, outside the virus, the pandemic is wreaking havoc on Americans’ health because of the variety of implications stemming from being cooped up at home for long periods of time without much, if any, in-person socializing.

For instance, back in October, an Ohio county’s coroner’s office reported a 73.4% surge in overdose deaths during the first six months of last year, with fentanyl comprising the lion’s share of those deaths.

RELATED: 73% uptick in overdose deaths in 2020 so far in Ohio county: Coroner’s report

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.

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American and Southwest stand by vaccine mandate, despite Abbott’s ban

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American Airlines and Southwest Airlines are still planning to comply with President Biden’s executive order regarding the COVID-19 vaccine. The order requires all their employees to be vaccinated by Dec. 8t. As a result, they will be ignoring Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s ban on vaccine mandates.

Abbott announced his own executive order, effectively banning mandates even from private employers, on Tuesday. “In another instance of federal overreach, the Biden Administration is now bullying many private entities into imposing COVID-19 vaccine mandates, causing workforce disruptions that threaten Texas’ continued recovery from the COVID-19 disaster,” Abbott said. “The COVID-19 vaccine is safe, effective, and our best defense against the virus, but should remain voluntary and never forced.”

Yet both airlines are requiring their employees to be vaccinated by Nov. 24. This comes despite Southwest’s impromptu cancellation of over 2,000 flights over the weekend. At the time, the airline blamed the cancellations on air traffic control and weather conditions. However, SaraACarter.com was unable to verify that any other airline had to cancel near as many flights for the same reasons. This has left many to speculate that Southwest actually cancelled flights due to their employees walking out as a direct result of the mandate.

Reporter Jack Posobiec tweeted out a flyer circulating among the anti-vaxx Southwest employees. Currently, they are planning a protest outside of Southwest headquarters next Monday. The protest will be called “Freedom Not Force.”

Southwest told Reuters it “would be expected to comply with the President’s Order to remain compliant as a federal contractor.” In addition, American similarly said Abbott’s order does not change anything.

You can follow Jenny Goldsberry on Twitter @jennyjournalism.

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