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Excess Mortality in Suicide caused by COVID-19 in Japan

By Junko Kurita, Tamie Sugawara, Yasushi Ohkusa

Posted 18 Feb 2021
medRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2021.02.13.21251670

Background: Countermeasures against COVID-19 outbreak such as lockdown and voluntary restrictions against going out adversely affect human stress and economic activity. Particularly, this stress might lead to suicide. Object: We examined excess mortality attributable to suicide caused by COVID-19. Method: We applied the NIID model to suicide deaths from October 2009 through May, 2021 for the whole of Japan by gender. Effects of the great earthquake that struck in eastern Japan on March 11, 2011 were incorporated into the estimation model. Results: Significant excess mortality in suicide was found between July, 2020 and May, 2021 for both genders. It was greater among females than among males. In total, 2950 excess cases of mortality were identified. Discussion and Conclusion: Excess mortality during the four months was more than two times greater than the number of COVID-19 deaths confirmed by PCR testing. Countermeasures against COVID-19 should be chosen carefully in light of suicide effects.

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