Feelings of loneliness can be very hard to deal with. Modern society has had a tendency to isolate us from one another even before the COVID-19 pandemic, but since its arrival feelings of isolation and loneliness have gone off the scale.
Hundreds of millions of people have lost their livelihood due to the shutdowns. The divorce rate has gone up, as has the suicide rate. While we know COVID-19 has caused 2.8 million deaths worldwide, including almost 550,000 in the US, researchers are just beginning to look at the cost of increased loneliness as a result of government lockdowns. These costs are particularly high among the elderly and those who live alone.
“For more than a million residents of nursing homes, the lockdowns themselves have been devastating,” the New York Times reported. “Cut off from family and largely confined to their rooms, many residents lost weight and saw ailments worsen. Some grew increasingly confused. Others sank into depression and despair.”
For more than a year, health officials have told the public to wear masks and stay at least six feet apart to slow the spread of the virus. But wearing masks and being unable to share simple touch also comes with a cost.