Coronavirus has caused sickness and death. The restrictions that various local and state governments imposed during the pandemic also resulted in great pain for Americans, particularly in terms of mental health. With many COVID19 restrictions still in place, people continue to suffer.
Humans are social beings who crave for closeness and harmony. People enjoy togetherness with family members at home, with colleagues at work, with classmates in school, and with friends and neighbors in the community. The COVID19 restrictions – stay-at-home orders, school closures, cancellation of school sports, social distancing, and capacity limits in various establishments – have thrown people in physical and emotional isolation. Texts, phone calls, and video-conferencing technology cannot replace the power of close association and human touch.
Many people have given up handshakes and hugs, and are covering their faces behind masks that prevent friendly exchange of smiles. Senior citizens and people who are home-bound, in particular, are suffering from loneliness, leading to mental health problems. According to the Mayo Clinic, anxiety about COVID19 and its effects can be “overwhelming.” The pandemic and the burdensome prohibitions have caused depression and other serious problems in many people.
According to a Fox News article , a teenager in Illinois killed himself during the pandemic. His mother believes that her son died because of “COVID isolation,” and that COVID restrictions cause “emotional and physical harm.” There are many other documented cases of people suffering due to COVID19 lockdowns. An NPR article discusses the case of a young girl with autism and how school closure during the pandemic caused serious suffering for her.
The adverse effects of COVID19 rules can be severe for senior citizens. Many elderly individuals suffer from depression as a result of isolation. According to health experts, loneliness is as serious of an issue as smoking and obesity. The pandemic has taken a toll on the mental health of people of all ages.
In various communities across the country, COVID19 restrictions are being renewed. Here in Wisconsin, the mask mandate has been renewed. However, the Wisconsin State Senate voted to repeal the mask mandate. A vote to repeal the mandate has not yet taken place in the Wisconsin State Assembly. Many view the mask mandate as government overreach.
In my home city of Madison, the school district is continuing with virtual learning and has also cancelled winter sports. In South Milwaukee, many students engaged in protest against virtual learning because they wish to go back to in-person learning in the classroom.
Policymakers must understand the true costs of COVID19 restrictions. The impacts of these go far beyond the physical health, and hurt people emotionally and psychologically. The longer these restrictions continue, the more negative affect there would be on people’s mental health.