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‘Shadow deaths of the virus

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‘Shadow deaths of the virus

Copyright © 2020 Albuquerque Journal Landon Fuller, 11. (Courtesy of Katrina Fuller) Landon Fuller, an outgoing 11-year-old from Hobbs, loved to make people laugh. He enjoyed sports, riding his bike around the neighborhood with his friends and attending church with his parents and two older sisters.

The shuttering of schools and the stay-at-home orders implemented to minimize the risk of spreading COVID-19 were hard on him, his mother said, and he often asked to go out and play or accompany his parents to the grocery store.

“For Landon, it was the end of his world,” said his mother, Katrina Fuller. On April 23, almost six weeks after his last day in a classroom, Landon took the gun his father carried to protect himself from rattlesnakes while working in the oil fields. He rode his bike to a field a little way from his family’s home, and he killed himself.

Landon’s death was one of more than 2,300 unexpected deaths being analyzed by the Office of the Medical Investigator since the first case of COVID-19 was confirmed in New Mexico in early March. That is nearly a 20% spike in unexpected deaths, which usually includes car crashes, suicides, homicides and some natural deaths.

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Dr. Heather Jarrell, the interim director of OMI, attributed the increase to “indirect causes of COVID.”

And health officials suspect those numbers include a rise in suicides.

National experts have warned there could be more suicides during the pandemic due to increased financial stress, isolation and other factors.Since her son died, Katrina Fuller said, she has struggled to get out of bed and complete routine chores. She cries frequently while talking about her […]

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