2020 has been a year of nearly immeasurable change on a global scale. The Covid-19 pandemic has completely altered many peoples’ day-to-day lives. While most of us are settling into this (hopefully) temporary way of living, others have not been so lucky. Nearly 300,000 Americans have lost their lives to this deadly disease, and the numbers continue to climb. But what many people are not discussing is the lives that have been lost but not due to Covid-19.
I wanted to write this blog because over the past several months Mobile Legal Services has seen a significant increase in deaths and probate estate cases. While these cases have always been a part of this firm’s focus, the increase in clients has been staggering, to say the least. Additionally, my personal observation has been a significant increase in younger people dying. Many of the new probate cases are for individuals in their 50’s and 60’s, which is devastating.
A study conducted by the University of Illinois and published in the journal Public Health (https://news.illinois.edu/view/6367/537378798) found that the rate of death for non-Covid patients has indeed increased over the expected death rate, using 2018 and 2019 figures.
Another study found a significant increase in non-Covid deaths in several states, including Michigan specifically. The study stated, “At COVID-19's peak for March and April, diabetes deaths in those five states [including Michigan] rose 96% above the expected number of deaths when compared to the weekly averages in January and February of 2020.” (https://www.usnews.com/news/health-news/articles/2020-07-01/numbers-of-non-covid-19-deaths-up-during-pandemic). This is a very scary statistic that has received little media coverage and there are varying opinions as to why. Whatever the cause, it is something that needs to be acknowledged and addressed.
Families have been separated, people are experiencing economic hardship, medical procedures have been postponed, loneliness and isolation are at an all-time high. The focus tends to be on older loved ones living in facilities that are not allowing visitation, and while this is an incredibly important issue, it is less understood why younger Americans are dying as well.
With the holidays and colder weather upon us it is imperative to check in with family, friends, and neighbors. We as a society need to look out for one another and provide support and comfort in this time of hardship. And while it is true that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, with one vaccine approval and another hopefully right behind it, it is estimated that it will still be several months before the vaccine is made available to the general population. But there is an end in sight and if we continue to sacrifice a little longer, we can gather again soon.
So, in this holiday season, we at Mobile Legal Services would like to wish all of our clients, past, present, and future, a safe and joyous holiday. While this year end may not have the festivities and traditions we were hoping for, we can all do our best to keep each other safe and healthy. We are definitely looking forward to 2021 and we hope you are too!