US suicides dropped last year, defying pandemic expectations

NEW YORK (AP) — The number of U.S. suicides fell nearly 6% last year amid the coronavirus pandemic — the largest annual decline in at least four decades. That’s according to preliminary government data. Death certificates are still coming in and the count could still rise. But officials expect a substantial decline will endure — despite worries that COVID-19 could lead to more suicides. It’s hard to say exactly why suicide deaths dropped so much. Some experts suggest one factor may be a phenomenon seen in the early stages of wars and national disasters, when communities pull together and people focus on survival.