Many parts of the world are starting to emerge from what has been the most bizarre spring on record. The coronavirus lockdown has been economically devastating and its true impact is probably not even known yet. Considering the amount of money printed by central banks over the past few months, the result can only be a recession and an economic depression at worst.
However, the lockdown that was intended to protect people from the coronavirus has also been damaging in many less obvious ways. People’s health, both mental and physical, has deteriorated as a direct result of the lack of social interaction and the movement restrictions placed on us. Here are some of the causes of these problems.
Poor eating and exercise habits
In many countries around the world, all but essential businesses have been closed for most of 2020 at this point. Essential, apparently, mostly means eating and drinking, however. Although the gym has not been open, the supermarket certainly has it, and so have the take out. Not only have the gyms been closed, but some parts of the world, like Spain, for example, have actually banned people from leaving the house entirely for almost two months!
In such conditions, boredom is rife and many people face boredom while eating. Overeating with little or no chance of exercising can only lead to weight gain. There are a myriad of health factors associated with overweight people. These include: diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke. With global obesity rates rising every year – the number has tripled since 1975 – the last thing humans need is an event that some say encourages overeating and discourages physical activity.
Weaken our immune system
Another somewhat ironic fact about lockdown is that it weakens our immune system. What a lot of people don’t realize is that there are actually quite a few viruses on earth. In fact, there are over 10 million viruses (30 zeros!) On Earth and we only know of 200 that are dangerous to humans. Simply put, there are fewer stars in the sky than viruses on earth.
By isolating ourselves from other people for so long, we have come into contact with a much smaller number of viruses than we usually do. As a result, our immune systems will be much more ill-equipped to deal with viruses other than COVID-19, and potentially any second wave of coronavirus.
Jump into addiction
Isolation breeds boredom and without productive things to do, many people can engage in destructive behaviors that can be harmful to their health and life in general. The number of people who drink heavily, despite the closure of bars and pubs, has skyrocketed. For some, the lockdown will have been the first time they were alone with nothing but their own thoughts for an extended period. And there is a lot to think about.
After all, there is a great deal of uncertainty as to how we will emerge from all of this. The economies will surely be in tatters and the threat of a second wave of the virus is very real. This could lead to further lockdowns, further deaths and deepening economic conflicts in the future. None of these thoughts are particularly pleasant, and for many, the best option might be to find salvation at the bottom of a bottle – or at least block those thoughts for awhile.
Of course, alcohol can be addictive for some people. What started out as a coping mechanism can quickly turn into a problem in itself. The health consequences of excessive alcohol consumption can also be disastrous. Alcohol abuse can damage the brain, nervous system, heart, liver, and pancreas. It can also destroy personal and professional relationships.
In addition to getting drunk, people play more during lockdown. With millions of people being fired or fired by companies who cannot see a way out of COVID-19, there is a strong incentive to try to get money by any means. There is also a great void of meaningful activities that people could take care of. These two factors combined, along with the cancellation of most sports, have seen people flock to online casinos like never before.
For many, a beat at roulette or blackjack with nothing better to keep them occupied is hardly going to ruin their lives. However, other people with a more addictive nature, or a greater incentive to make money by any means, can easily find themselves gambling impulsively, long after the activity has ceased to be enjoyable. .
Nowadays, most online casinos enforce player protections to minimize the risk of gamblers developing compulsive tendencies. However, some do not. Casino review sites like NoDepositKings can help you in this regard. They list loads of blacklisted operators who may not demonstrate their commitment to player protection or drop players in some other capacity.
Finally, there is depression. We humans are social creatures. Interaction makes us feel good, and even the most loyal loners end up craving the company of other humans.
Lockdown made it difficult to get that kind of interaction. Unfortunately, a Zoom conference call with your friends will never have quite the same appeal as a round of golf, a day of shopping, a kick or even a few at the pub with real company.
Isolation alone is enough to elicit depressive thoughts. However, add to that all the worries about health, the future, and the economy, and it’s easy to imagine why so many people are suffering. Depression can have a serious impact on health, as it often causes poor appetite, trouble sleeping, relationship difficulties, stress, and other problems. Clinical depression goes beyond that and in the most severe cases the sufferer may feel the need to end his life.
Experts are already warning of a “perfect storm” for suicides to skyrocket. In a recent article, a large list of causes of depression that could trigger lockdown-related suicide attempts are identified. Health professionals, those who fear recession and loss of income, and those suffering from isolation were all explicitly mentioned.
Should we have done things differently?
COVID-19 came out of nowhere. We were not prepared for a pandemic of this magnitude and as such we may have mismanaged the response this time around. As mentioned, there are many ways in which the course of action we have taken is harmful to individuals – whether through addiction, depression, not eating well and exercising, or dying. ‘weaken our immune system against future dangers of a similar nature.
While the answer to shutting everything down and isolating everything seemed hopelessly reasonable, we as a planet certainly need better systems in place to deal with situations like these that don’t involve shutting it down. Ensuring the safety of people is of course vital, but when that safety entails additional risks, a concerted effort must be made to seek better solutions to future pandemics.