All across the country now, the reports of pandemic anxiety are growing.
It was only a matter of time. Even before COVID-19 invaded everyone’s life, anxiety disorders were rampant in the U.S.
Almost a third of Americans experience an anxiety disorder at some point in life, according to the National Institute of Mental Health, and “an estimated 19.1 percent of U.S. adults had any anxiety disorder in the past year. Past year prevalence of any anxiety disorder was higher for females (23.4 percent) than for males (14.3 percent).”
And now comes the mother of all frights – a new, previously unknown, invisible and indiscriminate, mass murderer that makes the rare, random mass shootings that have terrorized the country in the past pale by way of comparison.
“People who never felt anxious are feeling anxious,” Lisa Conway, a therapist at the Relate Counseling Center in Minnetonka, Minn. in the Midwest tells CBS Minnesota. “What we’re discovering is that a lot of people are experiencing their anxiety in symptoms that mimic what COVID-19 is supposed to look like.”
“‘Downward spiral of depression’: Coronavirus jeopardizes senior, child mental health,” headlines the Modesto Bee on the West Coast.
“We are beginning to see a significant impact on the mental health of everyday Americans as a result of the pandemic,” Cohen Veterans Network president and chief executive officer Dr. Anthony Hassan reports from Stamford, Conn. on the East Coast. “Before the pandemic, there was already a mental health crisis in America, with high demand and relatively limited resources, the pandemic appears to be making it worse. And we know isolation can have negative consequences in terms of anxiety, depression, and suicidality.”
With 191 Alaskans known to be infected with COVID-19, 23 in hospital, and six dead, according to the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services, Alaskans are as deep in the anxiety as any other Americans.
Lots of advice
Google “pandemic anxiety” and you’ll find hundreds websites offering mental-health advice.
Avoid the news, advises the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), “hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting.”
Instead, “take deep breaths, stretch, or meditate; try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals; excercise regularly” and get plenty of sleep; stay off the booze and avoid drugs, the federal agency says.
Call a friend to talk about nothing, and if gets too much there’s “the Disaster Distress Helpline (1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746).”
The only good news here is that if you’re stressed out, you’re not the only one struggling to hold it together.
A poll commissioned by Cohen Veterans, a nonprofit that operates 15 mental health clinics across the nation, found 70 percent of Americans are now worried about their physical health and 58 percent fear mental health issues linked to social distancing.
Social media hints at tensions only increasing.
A new CDC recommendation that people wear surgical masks or other “face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies) especially in areas of significant community-based transmission” is being taken by some as an order.
And they are not happy that others are disregarding it.
“That’s why this virus crap is out of control!” reads one post on an Alaska community Facebook site. “People are non-caring until it happens to them . Maybe this is Mother Nature way of getting rid of the scum of the earth!!”
“Had the same experience grocery shopping wearing a mask,” added another. “Wish I could have communicated…I am doing this for you! What are you doing for me!”
As of this time, no one in the country appears to have been assaulted for not wearing a mask, but that seems inevitable amid growing tensions world wide.
“United Nations Secretary General António Guterres today warned of a “horrifying global surge in domestic violence” towards women as a result of government lockdowns to try to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The New York Times hours later labeled domestic violence “A New Covid-19 Crisis.”
The pandemic has undoubtedly unnerved many. It is easy to be afraid.
A widely circulated COVID-19 model produced by the University of Washington (UW) predicted 1,967 Americans would die of the disease today. And Worldometers, a generally respected tracking source, was reporting more than 700 dead in the U.S. Sunday, but there is general agreement among health authorities the daily numbers are low because of delays in reporting.
The worst mass shooting in U.S. history – the 2017 assault on Las Vegas concert goers by a madman whose motive remains unknown – left 58 people dead.
COVID-19 yesterday killed 10 times as many people in the state of New York alone, almost twice as many in Michigan, and one and a half times as many in New Jersey while also killing 20 people or more in at least seven other states.
The only good news was that it was expected to be worse.
The model from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at UW projected 1,745 deaths on Sunday, but the leader of the UW project is now saying new data makes it appear the model is biased high.
Dr. Christopher Murray said in a statement that it appears social distancing has helped to slow the spread of the disease and thus reduce the death rate.
The course of the pandemic remains extremely difficult to assess, as researchers at Oxford University’s Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine (CEBM) noted today.
“Everywhere we look we cannot get a handle on the essential facts or at times we get two completely different answers to the same question,” they wrote. “The military historian Sir Basil Liddle Hart would have called this ‘the fog of a pandemic’ or perhaps the ‘fog of information overload’.”
When experts looking for answers are overwhelmed by the data and unable to draw conclusions, it is understandable that lay people might be on the verge of a freak out.
Especially when one of the facts that has become obvious is that COVID-19 carriers are everywhere among us, and probably among us even in communities not yet visibly touched by the disease.
As a CEBM chart of COVID-19 studies records, the reports on the number of asymptomatic or mildly infected people carrying the disease range from a low of 4 percent to a high of 80 percent.
Asymptomatic people have the disease, but have no symptoms. Given that, they have no way of knowing they are infected unless they are tested, and there is a lack of testing for COVID-19 because of a lack of testing capabilities.
Literally anyone reading this could have COVID-19. A seemingly clean friend could infect you. A family member who went shopping for groceries could pick the virus up anywhere and bring it home to share with everyone in the house.
COVID-19 is insidious in that regard, which is what makes it so scary to so many.
The best data on the risk might be coming from the tiny country of Iceland where the government has begun widespread, random testing to analyze the scope of the pandemic.
To date, according to the country’s official website, 27,467 people – about 8 percent of the nation’s population – have been tested. Of those 27,467, about 6 percent – 1,562 – were found to be infected.
About half of those with the disease have shown no symptoms, meaning about 800 people have come down sick. Of those, 37 or about 4 percent are now hospitalized. Four, or 0.26 percent, of all those found infected with COVID-19 have died, but 11 remain in intensive care.
More than 60 percent of those who showed symptoms have, however, recovered.
Despite the seemingly large and growing national and global death tolls, your individual odds of getting sick with COVID-19 remains low, and your odds of surviving if you do get sick remain high.
“Approximately 80 percent of laboratory confirmed patients have had mild to moderate disease,” according to the World Health Organization (WHO); only about 6 percent got critically sick.
As in other countries, the Iceland data show a very low infection rate among children with an increasing rate among teenagers and a concentration of victims between the ages of 20 and 70.
Eighty-three percent of those in Iceland infected with the disease are in that age group, but again as in other countries, the Icelanders who’ve proven most vulnerable are old.
Two women and a man in their seventies have died along with an Australian tourist in his thirties. He passed away in mid-March and was later found to be positive for COVID-19.
Iceland Chief Epidemiologist Þórólfur Guðnason said the man was showing no symptoms of the disease. But after an autopsy the death was linked to pneumonia related to COVID-19.
Overall, according to Dr. Hans Henri P. Kluge, the WHO regional director for Europe, “over 95 percent of (European) deaths occurred in those older than 60 years” and “eight out of 10 deaths are occurring in individuals with at least one underlying co-morbidity, in particular those with cardiovascular diseases, hypertension and diabetes, but also with a range of other chronic underlying conditions.”
Similar rates are being seen around the globe. As a result, the elderly and those with pre-existing medical conditions are being advised to take extreme precautions, the easiest of which is to avoid other people as much as possible.
If you’re an older Alaskan with a well-stocked cabin in the backcountry, this might be a good time to move in for a while if you can get there. State officials on Monday said it is OK to travel to such locations as long as you don’t stop anywhere along the way, but the “social distancing” directive of maintaining a 6-foot separation remains in place whether you are wearing a face mask or not.
That makes it pretty much impossible to board a small-plane flight to anywhere.
Not sure why, but this article made me think of this https://craigmedred.news/2019/03/23/alaska-test/
Maybe I’m just anxious about my buckets in times like these…
These discussions bring up a larger point to how our culture views “death”.
Instead of embracing the continuum of life, our society views death as something we should fight until the bitter end.
You see this first hand in EMS and ER protocols accross the country.
Many people undergo horrific medical procedures including chemo, surgery and radiation right up into the bitter end…even though all medical advice points to the acceptance that the patient is going to die.
I called this the “hot potato” scenario as a paramedic and it is a lot of the reason I looked to alternative medicine outside of the Allopathic Community.
Medicine has become a cult religion in many ways accross America…if you think for yourself and disagree with an MD you are almost ostracized from many around you?
There are many ways to apply healing to the body.
Good food, exercise and reliving stress will help you stay healthy better than routine checkups can.
Some other types of medical care in America includes Homeopathy, Naturopathy, Chiropractic, Chinese (including acupuncture and pressure points) and Ayurveda.
I personally have had muscular skeletal injuries that were healed through Chiropractic and Acupuncture treatments when all the Allopathic Doctors had to offer me were more & more Drugs.
My friend from H.S. who is now an experienced Chiropractor explained it to me that in the beginning they were all “doctors” but the Chiropractors were not down with the drugs so they (the bone movers) formed their own club and were placed on the fringes of “medicine” in the west.
During these times when anxiety is high and everyone is looking for a “cure”.
I advise you to listen to Hippocrates words:
“Let food be your medicine”!
Why did it take a global pandemic for me to find so much common ground with you?
I always thought we had more in common with each other…perhaps we are just seeing “in a different light”?
Jason. Wow! Those adjectives you used such as “spineless dips”, “valueless strumpets”, feckless parents”, affluent wokeness”, and “gender malleable pronouns” are not often used to describe parents and their children. . They sound more reflective of what came out of Germany in the early 40’s.
I think I will pass on your recommendation that I read anything Jordan Peterson has written.
I strenuously object to you misquoting my statement! I didn’t say “dips” but rather “fops.”
Very good. I like the humor. You just might have some redeeming qualities after all.
I know 2 people who have sons. One is a boy who is a teacher and 25yo. The other is a a boy who is in college. The 25yo cannot function because he is having anxiety attacks over this whole Covid thing. The college boy hasnt stepped foot outside the house in a month. I mean, I have never such a bigger group of sissies in my life. An axiety attack over a virus?? At 25 even!! Good Lord!! I can remember feeling bulletproof at that age. Now they are all girlie boys..
Empathy is hard to come by for some people. Thank goodness most of us have it. Bryan lacks it. He sounds like Gen Patton who had none for soldiers who legitimately suffered from PTSD. He was wrong then just as is Bryan now
Must me nice to call these young men “ girlie boys”. Right Bryan? You may have felt bulletproof. But nobody is.
You should be ashamed for your ill placed judgment.
Sorry gents, guess I wasn’t clear. These boys have never touched a snow shovel, lawnmower, trashbag, nut’n.. soft, soft, soft… to say this isn’t systematic of the younger gen is denying yourself. I mean, what are these young men going to do when they are the leader of their households and their kids and wife are looking to them for protection and guidance when they are on all fours crying in the corner? Guess they could show “empathy”.
Alaskans first, you need to watch/read some Jordan Peterson. Bryan might be a little on the “blunt ” side (a quality that I happen to appreciate), but he’s absolutely correct; we’re raising a generation of spineless fops and value-less strumpets. If this pandemic has one positive side effect it will be to act as a dash of cold water to the face of all the feckless parents in America who are complicit in this act of malfeasance. Hopefully the age of affluent wokeness will die utterly and we will see a return to conservative family values where we appreciate what it actually means to be a man or a woman and not sit around stroking ourselves and thinking up ever more gender malleable pronouns.
Hmm . I say anxiety is a choice. Unless you are mentally damaged . So I fall on Barron’s side . That said I have huge empathy for those that are mentally damaged and can’t help it .
And the real irony is,those spineless fops will be taking your place and even paying your S.S
I don’t know about the latter, Dave. I’ve had a strange number of young people rushing up trying to hug me when I’m in the supermarket.
I disagree with you basic premise. I know people in their 30’s, 40’s, 50’s, 60’s, all the way up into their 90’s who are suffering anxiety over this issue. Some suffer from anxiety to begin with others don’t generally suffer from it. I know some in all of those age groups who also haven’t left their house in a few weeks. This has nothing to do with being a girlie boy.
The over saturation, nonstop media coverage, overblown numbers, social media, and all other forms of inputs that our brains weren’t designed to take all the time nonstop have much more to do with the growth of anxiety that we’ve seen over the years, but covid and the shuttering of our economy certainly isn’t helping by any means.
It sounds like after your further clarification you weren’t talking as much about anxiety so much as you were talking about children who weren’t raised to be adults. Those are two different things. One is a failure of the parent, the other might be caused or taught by bad parenting but can also be caused by myriad outside forces.
Steve-O, you might be right. The mother told me her son was having “anxiety attacks” from the Corona and couldn’t function. The next day she referenced “panic attacks”. I cannot dispute your parental assessment. I have no doubt that played a large portion in their upbringing, but, there comes a time to step-up to the plate and leave the dress at home and be a man. This younger gen is a mess..
No doubt this next generation is a mess, they only have the current one, and the one before, and the one before, and the one before…ad nauseam to blame, where does it stop? It’s all about personal responsibility and the lack thereof, there are good kids in this generation, most of them had good parents from the previous generation and a small number figured it out for themselves. All of that has virtually nothing to do with anxiety. If the people you know raised their kids to be anxious when a leaf drops and not know how to do basic things then they are horrible parents, the generation they were born into isn’t to blame for that.
All that being said there is such a thing as an idiot, and idiots are hard to account for, they are like stupid people but more like 10 stupid people put into one person. If an idiot raises a stupid person we should be happy they didn’t raise another idiot!
Anyways, anxiety and being stupid or being an idiot are completely different. I don’t suffer from anxiety but I have family members who do and they aren’t stupid, lazy, or idiots they just have anxiety.
Steve-O, I disagree. This Ridalin and Adderal gen suffers from Anxiety disorders. “Anxiety – Characterized by feelings of worry, anxiety, or fear that are strong enough to interfere with one’s daily activities”.
A lot of all this is by years of design by our leftist establishments. Partivipation trophies, “don’t judge, or as Cin would say “you’re a racist or sexist”. Yawn.
OMG, Bryan dude, did you really say, “…what are these young men going to do when they are the leader of their households and their kids and wife are looking to them for protection and guidance.”
Why in the world would you expect wives to look to their husbands for leadership, protection and guidance? I’m a woman and raised a son, and let me assurance you that I can guide and lead myself quite well, thank you very much.
And, P.S., what in the world is a girlie-boy? Are you implying that girls are weaker than boys? Less afraid to take chances? Less intelligent or more fearful? Pleasseee!
And, P.S S. If you truly think that calling a man a girlie-boy is a good insult, than you’ve obviously never followed ultra-running and seen women puke their guts out at mile 60 and still beat most of the men in a 100 mile race.
Girls rock, dude. And using the word “girl” or “girlie” to insult a man isn’t just sexist. It’s friggin’ wrong, and it needs to stop. Now.
Cin, I have been called “sexist, racist, Xenophobic, homophobic, Chinesephobic, Gen. Patton, etc..” it all blurs these days.. Now go fix me a samwich. 🙂
consider yourself warned Bryan. i know her. she’d kick your ass.
“The University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) now predicts that 81,766 people will die of COVID-19 in the U.S. through early August.”
Didn’t almost 80,000 die last year from the flu?
It definitely seems like an orchestrated effort b/w MSM/ CDC and Big Pharma to stoke the fire on this current scenario.
Media should be suggesting ways to strengthen the Immune System instead of saying there is no way to fend off this virus.
Exercise (outside in sunlight), Vit A and D along with increased Vitamin C greatly helps the body.
Adequate sleep and proper hydration also go a long way.
Zinc supplements and Melatonin have also been noted to help strengthen the immune system.
I read that the body inhales millions of viruses a day and 99.9% pass through without symptoms.
As time moves along, we will see the true destruction left behind from our shuttered economy will be much harder to recover from than this new strain of coronavirus….and please remeber that various forms of coronavirus has been with us for many years on earth.
Good point(s) Steve.
Personally, when it comes to mental health I feel like every move I’ve made in life, every decision, every mile, has prepared me for whatever happens next. If the American dream is still possible when the smoke clears and the dust settles I’ll be right there taking my piece of the pie, but if it turns into a post-apocalypse version of Mad Max I’ll be down with that, too. The important thing is to not lose hope and always keep a bluebird in your heart.
I just got back from a beautiful evening of nordic skiing with my son…hard to imagine a better way to spend my time on Earth.
What these difficult times tell us is that we should live each day to it’s fullest.
Growing up on the East Coast, I always had reminders of “how bad” it can get in America.
My childhood hero always has been Ethan Allen who led the Green Mountain Boys in the hills of Vermont during the Revolutionary War.
In PA, the battle of Gettysburg took place about an hour drive south of my home.
I could never understand how 100,000 Americans could have died in a few days fighting one another in the name of Independence?
Let’s hope that President Trump can get the economy back in motion before it is too late.
Viruses are a risk, but not having an economy to return to will lead this country into a modern civil war.
Best of luck to you and your family through the challenging times…we have been though a lot in this country and are defined by how we deal with the tough times.
Let’s hope the Nation chooses the higher road and comes out whole on the other side!
Jason, as you probably guessed, I am a chitty writer and have a terrible way with words..but…what you wrote here is exactly what I was trying to convey (above about today’s youth), if one can read a deeper meaning in what you wrote – ” If the American dream is still possible when the smoke clears and the dust settles I’ll be right there taking my piece of the pie, but if it turns into a post-apocalypse version of Mad Max I’ll be down with that, too.”