Social Isolation in the USA Rises as Covid Crisis Starts to Ease,

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Many Americans have felt socially isolated during the pandemic, cutting themselves off from friends and family and keeping their distance while trying to protect themselves from infection.

But new research The report, released Thursday, shows that as the public health crisis in the United States begins to subside as communities open up and the economy recovers, many people’s feelings of isolation are mounting.

at the level Social Isolation According to researchers at Harvard, Northeastern, Northwestern, and Rutgers universities, it waned in the spring of the pandemic after the initial shock of the crisis subsided, then spiked sharply in the summer of last year before stabilizing in the fall.

People began to feel less disconnected from December to April this year, but the levels of social isolation measured by researchers rose again this June.

The findings show that recovery from the pandemic may take a long time and may affect how people view their relationships over time. “Social isolation had cumulative effects,” said David Lazer, professor of political science and computer science at Northeastern and one of the study’s authors.

To decide Social IsolationThe researchers asked each person the number of people they could trust to take care of if they were sick, lend money to them, talk to them about a problem when they were depressed, or help them find a job. Someone who said they only had one person in a particular category or had no one to turn to was considered socially isolated.

Researchers surveyed a total of 185,223 people in 12 different surveys from April 2020 to June 2021.

Even now, with a lot more people vaccinated As they become much more actively engaged with the coronavirus and with their communities, people may think differently about the people they previously trusted for help. Pointing to an unusual number of people, Dr. “This pause in life can cause a lot of revision in our relationships,” said Lazer. decide to quit your joblike the pandemic is over. “It takes some time to heal the social fabric.”

Mario L. Small, a professor of sociology at Harvard who was not involved in the study, said the rise in feelings of isolation was “striking” even when the most severe restrictions were lifted. He said that even as quarantines ease, people may have felt like they had fewer people to lean on because they were physically away from a large network of acquaintances and friends.

The researchers found that people’s isolation increased despite seeing more people last summer. “Our findings suggest that recovering from social isolation is difficult and not just due to increased social contact,” the researchers said.

The researchers also point to a strong association between social isolation and moderate or severe depression, especially for people who say they lack people they can turn to for emotional support.

Dr. Many of the lower-income and less-educated people hardest hit by the pandemic seem to recover more slowly, Laser said. “We certainly see a fateful split in terms of socioeconomic status,” he said, with some groups experiencing a longer and more erratic recovery.

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