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RealMoney 11 October, 2021 - 09:45am

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Cases of major depressive disorder and anxiety disorders increased by more than a quarter worldwide in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the first global estimates of impacts of the pandemic on mental health, published in The Lancet.

In 2020, cases of major depressive disorder and anxiety disorders increased by 28% and 26%, respectively. Women were affected more than men, and younger people were more affected than older age groups. Countries with high COVID-19 infection rates and major reductions in the movement of people – a consequence of measures such as lockdowns and school closures – had the greatest increases in prevalence of major depressive disorder and anxiety disorders.

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, major depressive disorder and anxiety disorders – which can increase the risk of other health outcomes such as suicide – were major contributors to the global burden of disease, affecting millions of men and women of all ages around the world.

Our findings highlight an urgent need to strengthen mental health systems in order to address the growing burden of major depressive disorder and anxiety disorders worldwide. Promoting mental wellbeing, targeting factors contributing to poor mental health that have been made worse by the pandemic, and improving treatment for those who develop a mental disorder should be central to efforts to improve support services. Even before the pandemic, mental health-care systems in most countries have historically been under-resourced and disorganised in their service delivery. Meeting the added demand for mental health services due to COVID-19 will be challenging, but taking no action should not be an option."

Dr Damian Santomauro, Lead Author, Queensland Centre for Mental Health Research, School of Public Health, University of Queensland, Australia

Until now, no studies had analysed the global impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on prevalence of major depressive disorder and anxiety disorders in 2020. Most previous work consisted of surveys in specific locations over a short time period.

The new study is the first to assess global impacts of the pandemic on major depressive disorder and anxiety disorders, quantifying the prevalence and burden of the disorders by age, sex, and location in 204 countries and territories in 2020.

A systematic literature review was performed to identify population survey data published between January 1, 2020, and January 29, 2021. Eligible studies reported prevalence of depressive or anxiety disorders that were representative of the general population and had a pre-pandemic baseline. Using a disease modelling meta-analysis tool, data from eligible studies was used to estimate changes in prevalence of major depressive disorder and anxiety disorders due to COVID-19 based on age, sex, and location, including in locations for which no eligible studies were available. Estimates of daily COVID-19 infection rate and movement of people were used as indicators of the impact of the pandemic on populations.

The systematic review identified 5,683 unique data sources, of which 48 (one of which reported across two regions) met inclusion criteria. Most studies were from Western Europe (22) and high-income North America (14), with others from Australasia (5), high-income Asia Pacific (5), East Asia (2), and central Europe (1).

The meta-analysis indicates that increased COVID-19 infection rate and reduced movement of people were associated with increased prevalence of major depressive disorder and anxiety disorders, suggesting that countries hit hardest by the pandemic in 2020 had the greatest increases in prevalence of the disorders.

In the absence of the pandemic, model estimates suggest there would have been 193 million cases of major depressive disorder (2,471 cases per 100,000 population) globally in 2020. However, the analysis shows there were 246 million cases (3,153 per 100,000), an increase of 28% (an additional 53 million cases). More than 35 million of the additional cases were in women, compared with close to 18 million in men.

Model estimates suggest there would have been 298 million cases of anxiety disorders (3,825 per 100,000 population) globally in 2020 had the pandemic not happened. The analysis indicates there were in fact an estimated 374 million cases (4,802 per 100,000) during 2020, an increase of 26% (an additional 76 million cases). Almost 52 million of the additional cases were in women, compared with around 24 million in men.

Younger people were more affected by major depressive disorder and anxiety disorders in 2020 than older age groups. The additional prevalence of these disorders peaked among those aged 20-24 years (1,118 additional cases of major depressive disorder per 100,000 and 1,331 additional cases of anxiety disorders per 100,000) and declined with increasing age.

Co-author Alize Ferrari, GBD mental disorders team lead at the Queensland Centre for Mental Health Research, School of Public Health, University of Queensland, Australia, said: "The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated many existing inequalities, and social determinants of mental health. Sadly, for numerous reasons, women were always more likely to be worse affected by the social and economic consequences of the pandemic. Additional caring and household responsibilities tend to fall on women, and because women are more likely to be victims of domestic violence, which increased at various stages of the pandemic.

"School closures and wider restrictions limiting young people's ability to learn and interact with their peers, combined with the increased risk of unemployment, also meant that young people were also more heavily impacted by major depressive disorder and anxiety disorders during the pandemic. It is crucial that policymakers take underlying factors such as these into account as part of measures to strengthen mental health services."

The authors acknowledge that their study was limited by a lack of high quality data on the effects of COVID-19 pandemic on mental health in many parts of the world, particularly low- and middle-income countries. As a result, they say extrapolated estimates generated for countries where data was lacking should be interpreted with caution, and call for improved data coverage and quality globally. Most available data was based on self-reported symptom scales that only estimate probable cases of major depressive disorder and anxiety disorders. More data from diagnostic mental health surveys representative of the general population – of which only three covered the study period – will improve understanding of the pandemic's effects on mental health. The prevalence of other mental disorders – such as eating disorders – might also have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, and the authors say these should be assessed as new mental health surveys are undertaken.

Writing in a linked Comment, Dr Maxime Taquet and Professor Paul Harrison, from the University of Oxford, and Professor Emily Holmes, from Uppsala University and the Karolinska Institute, who were not involved in the study, said: "The first global insight into the burden of depressive and anxiety disorders during the pandemic by Santomauro and colleagues starkly highlights the impact of the pandemic on mental health globally." They echo the study authors' calls for action to strengthen mental health systems, saying: "The study should therefore urgently incentivise more research to determine the fuller geographic distribution of depression and anxiety, the prevalence of depressive and anxiety disorders, and the underpinning mechanisms to improve mental health in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic globally."

COVID-19 Mental Disorders Collaborators  (2021) Global prevalence and burden of depressive and anxiety disorders in 204 countries and territories in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Lancet. doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(21)02143-7.

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Posted in: Medical Research News | Medical Condition News | Healthcare News

Tags: Anxiety, Depression, Depressive Disorder, Diagnostic, Health Systems, Major Depressive Disorder, Medical Research, Medicine, Mental Disorder, Mental Health, Pandemic, Public Health, Research

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Cleveland-Cliffs to enter scrap business with acquisition of Ferrous Processing in $775 million deal

MarketWatch 12 October, 2021 - 08:02am

Shares of Alibaba Group Holdings Ltd. undefined surged 5.2% in premarket trading Monday, putting them on track for a fifth-straight gain, as part of a broad rally shares of China-based technology companies. Alibaba's stock had soared 15.7% over the past four sessions, after closing on Oct. 4 at the lowest price since January 2019. The broad rally comes after reports that Chinese regulators fined food delivery giant Meituan undefinedundefined the equivalent of more than $500 million, as that was a lot less than many had expected and it removes an overhang for the company and other tech stocks. Meituan's Hong Kong-listed shares ran up 8.4% toward a three-month high. Among U.S.-listed shares of other China-based tech giants, JD.com Inc. undefined climbed 1.8%, iQIYI Inc. undefined rose 3.2%, Baidu Inc. undefined rallied 2.6% and Bilibili Inc. undefined advanced 3.1%. Meanwhile, the iShares MSCI China ETF undefined gained 1.4% in Monday's premarket, while futures undefined for the S&P 500 undefined slipped 0.4%.

Ciara Linnane is MarketWatch's investing- and corporate-news editor. She is based in New York.

Coke oven at Middletown Works idle, may be torn down; no layoffs planned, according to union

Hamilton Journal News 12 October, 2021 - 08:02am

A top Netflix executive said Dave Chappelle's special “The Closer” doesn't cross “the line on hate” and will remain on the streaming service despite fallout over the comedian's remarks about the transgender community.

Ciara Linnane is MarketWatch's investing- and corporate-news editor. She is based in New York.

Soave to sell Detroit scrap metal business to Cleveland-Cliffs in $775 million deal

Crain's Detroit Business 11 October, 2021 - 12:27pm

The acquisition, announced Monday, marks the Cleveland-based steel manufacturer's entry into scrap materials. It is expected to clear regulatory approvals in the fourth quarter, according to a news release.

The deal gives one of the largest domestic steel companies in North America control of one the largest processors and distributors of ferrous scrap. As the largest supplier of steel to the automotive industry, Cleveland-Cliffs' move into scrap would allow it to buy back material directly from clients and cut the middlemen, Lourenco Goncalves, president and CEO of Cleveland-Cliffs, said in the release.

"The acquisition of FPT will enhance our ability to buy back prime scrap directly from our clients, cutting the middlemen and improving the margin contribution from scrap for both Cleveland-Cliffs and for the manufacturing and service center clients that will be able to sell scrap directly back to us," Goncalves said.

Ferrous Processing and Trading was founded in 1961 and acquired by Detroit-based Soave Enterprises LLC, the holding company for multiple businesses run by President and CEO Anthony Soave, in 1997.

"Both Ferrous Processing and Trade and Cleveland-Cliffs recognize the value that each of the companies brings to the other, and we believe this acquisition provides a remarkable opportunity for their continued growth," Soave said in a statement emailed to Crain's.

Soave Enterprises ranks 13th on Crain's Private 200 list of the largest privately held companies in Southeast Michigan with $1.7 billion in revenue in 2020. Its portfolio includes commercial, industrial and residential real estate, hydroponics and agriculture companies, luxury automotive dealerships in Kansas City and Topeka, and the New Center Stamping plant in Detroit — acquired in 2019 as the portfolio's first manufacturing plant.

The purchase agreement with Cleveland-Cliffs is on a cash-free, debt-free basis, the release said.

Ferrous Processing and Trading operates 22 scrap processing plants, mostly in Michigan and Ohio, and represents around 15 percent of the domestic prime scrap market. In the twelve months ending Aug. 31, it generated EBITDA of about $100 million.

The transaction includes all of the company's scrap yards, as well as steel service center Koil and auto salvage yard Parts Galore, both located in Detroit.

Cleveland-Cliffs (NYSE: CLF) hauled in a record $795 million profit in the second quarter. Its stock was trading at $21.97 per share as of Monday afternoon, up more than 6 percent from where it opened.

The scrap company has around 600 employees. It is unclear how the transaction would impact jobs or the company's leadership team. A Cleveland-Cliffs spokesperson said the company could not comment on the potential impact prior to the deal closing.

For the past year, Cleveland-Cliffs has tapped into an unprecedented demand for steel brought on by the unexpectedly speedy reboot of manufacturing plants in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Scrap demand has also soared as a result.

"With all the new flat-rolled (electric-arc furnace) capacity coming online in our market over the next four years, prime scrap will only become more and more scarce," Goncalves said.

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