The effects of COVID-19 pandemic social isolation on the mental and physical health of the general population
(1) Chaminade High School, Mineola, New York
During the early part of 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic began, and continues to affect the lives of millions of people spanning the globe. During the pandemic, local and national governments throughout the world sought to limit the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes the disease known as COVID-19, through the use of mandated lockdowns and social distancing measures. The effects that these unprecedented and hastily implemented measures have had on the mental and physical health of the general population, continues to be an area of intense study. We attempted to measure these effects through an anonymous Google forms survey. A majority of survey respondents lived on Long Island, NY during the period of social isolation. The survey, conducted during April and May of 2020, focused on changes in physical and mental health across various age groups and between sexes. The results of the survey reveal some negative impacts to physical health across all demographic groups, such as decreased physical activity and worsened perceived sleep quality. The survey also reveals significant increases in depressive symptoms and feelings of loneliness across all groups following the period of social isolation, with more significant increases occurring in younger age groups and amongst women. This study illustrates that the social isolation resulting from the COVID-19 lockdowns had negative effects on both the physical and mental health of the general population and provides valuable information that may be used to assist local and national health officials with post- pandemic mental health responses in the future.
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