The Psychological Effects of the Wuhan Virus


Something I don’t read or hear much about the impact of the Wuhan Virus, is the psychological impact of people basically being in lockdown. We’ve been seeing people in various states protesting against, in some cases, very draconian edicts. Even though it’s only been a little over a month though, people, in general are ready to resume whatever will become normal from now on. It’s unsurprising to me, how you keep millions of people at home (mostly) in an attempt to mitigate the transmission of the Wuhan Virus, and have basically, no specific plan to allow people to to return to their lives. Well, there’s a plan, but in the little over a month, what has the mitigation of semi-lockdown done?

When the guidelines, in mid-March, were first announced and Governors around the country began implementing  “stay home” orders, the number of confirmed virus cases was [3,000] and deaths, a lagging indicator was small.  Here’s a site I‘ve been using to track cases in the US. Notice the graph: Since the “Fifteen Days” announcement, the number of cases has exploded, exponentially. So does staying at home, as was recommended by the Federal Government, and individual states work? Well, actually, it’s hard to say because in the US, we’re doing more than 100,000 tests per day, trying to double that in a short time. Of course, the number of cases are going to rise. What we don’t know, as I written is how many of those cases are mild (quarantine for 14 days), moderate (needs further treatment) or severe (hospitalization required).

As I write this, we have 761,183 confirmed cases with 40,403 deaths attributed. Think about that. The “Fifteen Days” was just, what, some six weeks ago. Since then, even though by all evidence, people are social distancing and staying home as much as possible (22 million out of work!), the numbers are rising. Daily.

I don’t believe I’m alone at looking at those numbers and asking, What have these various lockdowns done to mitigate the spread of Wuhan? Not much, from a layman’s point of view. all of the modeling has been wrong, all of the government “recommendations” have produced zero effect. So it’s not strange to me that there would be people, in some states, protesting the lockdown. Has this “mitigated” the virus? Clearly not. And now we see media and even government officials in those states chastising those that want to go on with their lives. What are the psychological impacts of these government declarations?  How long can families be bottled up before there’s a sudden jump in domestic violence or even suicide?

After this abates(id it does!), what are the psychological effects on society as a whole? How do we reintegrate with one another? I haven’t seen this discussed with any probity by anyone, except political pundits. What psychologists should be concentrating on, especially in the Ivory Towers, are the effects. No one cares about your budget for next year, but you could provide input to what’s most necessary: Humans.

Yes, we need to hear from virologists and epidemiologists, but I think we need to hear from noted psychologists (sorry, Dr. Phil) about the problems that may occur from this extended lockdown.

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