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Int J Ment Health Syst ; 14(1): 88, 2020 Dec 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-961329


BACKGROUND: Based on previous experience there is justifiable concern about suicidal behaviour and news media reporting of it during COVID-19 pandemic. METHODS: This study used a systematic search of online news media reports (versions of newspapers, magazine and other digital publications) of suicidal behaviour during India's COVID-19 lockdown and compared it to corresponding dates in 2019. Data was gathered using a uniform search strategy from 56 online news media publications 24 March to 3 May for the years 2019 and 2020 using keywords, suicide, attempted suicide, hangs self and kills self. Demographic variables and methods used for suicide were compared for suicide and attempts between the 2 years using chi-squared tests (χ2). RESULTS: There were online news media reports of 369 cases of suicides and attempted suicides during COVID lockdown vs 220 reports in 2019, a 67.7% increase in online news media reports of suicidal behaviour. Compared to 2019, suicides reported during lockdown were significantly older (30 vs 50 years, p < 0.05), men (71.2% vs 58.7%; p < 0.01), married (77.7% vs 49%; p < 0.01) and employed (82.9% vs 59.5%; p < 0.01). During the lockdown, significantly more suicides were by hanging (64.4% vs 42%), while poisoning (8.5% vs 21.5%) and jumping in front of a train (2% vs 9.4%) (p < 0.05) were significantly reduced. Comparison of COVID and non-COVID groups showed that online news media reports of COVID cases of suicide and attempted suicide were significantly more likely to be men (84.7% vs 60.4%; p < 0.01), older (31-50 years 52.9% vs 25.8%; p < 0.01) employed (91.5% vs 64.3%; p < 0.01), had poor mental (40.1% vs 20.8%; p < 0.01) and poor physical health (24.8% vs 7.9%;11.8, p < 0.01). CONCLUSION: Increase in online news media reports of suicides and attempts during COVID-19 lockdown may indicate an increase in journalists' awareness about suicide or more sensational media reporting or may be a proxy indicator of a real community increase in suicidal behaviour. It is difficult to attribute changes in demographic profile and methods used only to changes in journalists' reporting behaviour and should be further explored. We therefore call upon the Government of India to urgently release national suicide data to help devise a comprehensive suicide prevention strategy to address COVID-19 suicidal behaviour.

BMJ Open ; 10(11): e040736, 2020 11 27.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-947830


OBJECTIVE: The COVID-19 pandemic is a global public health crisis, with over 33 million cases and 999 000 deaths worldwide. Data are needed regarding the clinical course of hospitalised patients, particularly in the USA. We aimed to compare clinical characteristic of patients with COVID-19 who had in-hospital mortality with those who were discharged alive. DESIGN: Demographic, clinical and outcomes data for patients admitted to five Mount Sinai Health System hospitals with confirmed COVID-19 between 27 February and 2 April 2020 were identified through institutional electronic health records. We performed a retrospective comparative analysis of patients who had in-hospital mortality or were discharged alive. SETTING: All patients were admitted to the Mount Sinai Health System, a large quaternary care urban hospital system. PARTICIPANTS: Participants over the age of 18 years were included. PRIMARY OUTCOMES: We investigated in-hospital mortality during the study period. RESULTS: A total of 2199 patients with COVID-19 were hospitalised during the study period. As of 2 April, 1121 (51%) patients remained hospitalised, and 1078 (49%) completed their hospital course. Of the latter, the overall mortality was 29%, and 36% required intensive care. The median age was 65 years overall and 75 years in those who died. Pre-existing conditions were present in 65% of those who died and 46% of those discharged. In those who died, the admission median lymphocyte percentage was 11.7%, D-dimer was 2.4 µg/mL, C reactive protein was 162 mg/L and procalcitonin was 0.44 ng/mL. In those discharged, the admission median lymphocyte percentage was 16.6%, D-dimer was 0.93 µg/mL, C reactive protein was 79 mg/L and procalcitonin was 0.09 ng/mL. CONCLUSIONS: In our cohort of hospitalised patients, requirement of intensive care and mortality were high. Patients who died typically had more pre-existing conditions and greater perturbations in inflammatory markers as compared with those who were discharged.

COVID-19/blood , Critical Care , Hospital Mortality , Hospitalization , Pandemics , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , C-Reactive Protein/metabolism , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/mortality , Comorbidity , Critical Care/statistics & numerical data , Female , Fibrin Fibrinogen Degradation Products/metabolism , Hospitals , Humans , Lymphocytes/metabolism , Male , Middle Aged , New York City/epidemiology , Procalcitonin/blood , Retrospective Studies , Risk Factors , SARS-CoV-2 , Young Adult
Int J Law Psychiatry ; 71: 101579, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-324318


In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, as with other countries across the world, the Central and State Governments of India initiated several measures to slow down the spread of the virus and to 'flatten the curve'. One such measure was a 'total lockdown' for several weeks across the country. A complex and unexpected outcome of the lockdown which has medical, ethical, economic, and social dimensions is related to alcohol consumption. The lockdown and consequent acute non-availability of alcohol resulted in people with alcohol dependence going into withdrawals, black marketing of alcohol, and in extreme cases suicide resulting from the alleged frustration of not having access to alcohol. The health dilemmas around this situation are biological (e.g. pushing people into risky situations-potentially fatal alcohol withdrawal, consumption of illicit or other non-consumable alcohol) and psychosocial (e.g. isolation increasing the risk of relapses, loss of control over the decision to abstain which can be detrimental to recovery, restriction of access to services for alcohol problems). The legal and rights-related dilemmas are centred around whether States have the right to impinge on individual autonomy on the grounds of public health, the capacity of the health systems to provide appropriate services to cope with those who will struggle with the unavailability of alcohol, the constitutionality of the Central government's impinging on jurisdiction of states under the guise of a health emergency caused by the pandemic, and the ability of the State to make unbiased decisions about this issue when it is highly dependent on the revenue from the sale of alcohol and associated industries. The way forward could be a pragmatic and utilitarian approach involving continued access to alcohol, while observing all physical distancing norms necessary during the pandemic, for those who want to continue drinking; and implementing innovative measures such as tele-counselling for those who wish not to return back to drinking.

Alcohol Abstinence/ethics , Alcohol Abstinence/psychology , Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Human Rights , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Public Health , Betacoronavirus , COVID-19 , Federal Government , Harm Reduction , Humans , India/epidemiology , Pandemics , Quarantine , SARS-CoV-2 , State Government , Substance Withdrawal Syndrome/epidemiology