The Loneliness Epidemic intensifies Thanks to Lockdowns
The coronavirus has dominated all of our lives in recent months. Radical paths were taken by politicians in the form of lockdowns to contain the pandemic. But we should recognize that even if the coronavirus is a (major) challenge for us, we always have to keep a holistic view of world events. Just as there are epidemiological factors to consider in this crisis, there are also economic, social, cultural, political and other health factors at play. It is precisely these other factors that are so often forgotten in the panicky reporting, in the constant, manic tracking of the current infection numbers, that we want to take a look at in our series “The Costs of Coronavirus Lockdowns” in the coming weeks.
Be it the rise of social media, be it disconnection from community, be it the end of the old ways of living, or anything else for that matter: loneliness has been on the rise in recent years in the U.S. Since the outbreak of the pandemic the situation has changed for the worse because people have been unable to meaningfully connect with their peers. This has resulted in a substantial increase in loneliness.
Young adults and mothers with small children are the groups experiencing the highest rates of loneliness during the pandemic. Although the rate of loneliness stands at 36% among all respondents, it is a startling 61% among young people between 18 and 25 and 51% for mothers with young children, as a new report by Harvard Graduate School of Education’s Making Caring Common project shows. From the abovementioned lonely young adults and mothers with small children, more than two in five indicated that their loneliness had increased since the pandemic and lockdowns began. These results are similar to those of the November study done by other Harvard researchers who found that nearly half of young adults have shown signs of depression during the pandemic.
Lockdowns have trade-offs. In the hopes of stopping the spread of the COVID pandemic, we are exacerbating the loneliness epidemic.
More Statistics in Our Costs of Coronavirus Lockdowns Series:
Children Hurt Not by Corona – But by Lockdowns: children’s mental-health-related visits to the emergency departments in the U.S. increased by approximately 24% and 31% for children aged 5-11 and 12-17, respectively, compared to the same period in 2019. (CDC)
Record-Breaking Budget Deficit in the U.S.: the U.S. government spent $3.1 trillion more than it collected in 2020. Who is supposed to ever pay back all this money has not been answered yet. (U.S. Department of the Treasury)
Drug Addiction Intensifies: the number of people dying from drug overdose in the U.S.rose by 17% in the last twelve months. This only includes reported cases until May 31, 2020. (CDC)
Governments Grow in Size: in Austria, Germany, France, and Italy government spending has risen dramatically in 2020. (European Commission, Statista, and Handelsblatt)
Stillbirths on the Rise: more than 200.000 additional stillbirths could occur just in the next 12 months, concentrated in low- and middle-income countries. (UNICEF)
The Poor Pay the Higher Lockdowns Price: lockdowns and restrictions have proven to be something that disproportionally affects those already poor, whereas those wealthier are less hurt. (PEW Research Center)
How Women Are More Hurt by Lockdowns Than Men: between the first and second quarter of 2020, on average, women suffered a 6.9 % decline in wages, compared to the 4.7% decline suffered by their male counterparts. (International Labor Organization)
No Work in Europe Thanks to Lockdowns: The sharp decline in labor market participation and the 32 million people under the short-term work schemes hide the real numbers of the unemployed in the European Union, which most likely averaged a two-digit number. (ECB & Eurostat)
Printing Money in Times of Corona: Monetary policy effectiveness has its boundaries. As the Fed has created 39% of all the “dollars” in the economy in 2020, those boundaries might have been reached. (Trading Economics)
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