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Optimal mobility restriction minimizing COVID-19 and excess suicide deaths in Japan

By Junko Kurita, Tamie Sugawara, Yoshiyuki Sugishita, Yasushi Ohkusa

Posted 02 Mar 2021
medRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2021.02.28.21252644

BackgroundStrict countermeasures for COVID-19 outbreak such as lockdowns and voluntary restrictions against going out might have reduced mortality because of COVID-19 directly, but might have raised suicide rates. ObjectWe examined best policies for minimizing overall mortality attributable to COVID-19 directly, and excess mortality by suicide because of COVID-19. MethodWe regressed the estimated excess mortality attributable to suicide deaths against mobility-restrictive measures. Mortality attributable to COVID-19 directly was estimated through association between the effective reproduction number and mobility. We sought the best mobility restriction for minimizing overall deaths. ResultsSignificant association was found between mobility and suicide, but the data were very few. Results showed the best mobility level as 65.5, which represents a 34.5% reduction in mobility from the normal level. Discussion and ConclusionAn overly restrictive policy inducing lower than optimal mobility led to higher total mortality.

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