By Rob Saint Laurent, M.Ed.
It’s May, and the coronavirus continues to weigh heavily on hearts and minds, as the nation continues to hear of the continuous and inevitable surge in infections.
No one is certain how long social distancing measures will be needed if the proposed national extension of May 4 is rescinded, and so we walk the tightrope of enduring anxiousness.
Because of the virus’ predicted seasonality, a recent (non-peer-reviewed) study by Harvard’s TH Chan School of Public Health, suggests that unless vaccines, drug therapies, and/or aggressive quarantines can be implemented, intermittent physical distancing may need to extend into 2022 for the US to stay within its critical care capacity.
In the wake of extended social isolation and its fallout to the economy, it is the impact on mental health. A recent March 25-30 tracking poll, by the Kaiser Family Foundation, found 45 percent of Americans now feel an adverse psychological impact from the pandemic—a 13 percent rise from March 11-15.
Even before the coronavirus, the incidence of loneliness had already reached epidemic proportions in the US. A 2018 national survey by Cigna found that at least 40 percent of 20,000 Americans felt their social relationships were sometimes or always non-meaningful, while nearly 50 percent said they sometimes or always felt lonely or socially isolated. Youngest adults were most susceptible.
Meanwhile, as people reel from the uncertainty of lost income with many confined to living in close proximity, there have been increasing reports of domestic violence worldwide.
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