Will Spring Relieve Post-COVID Stress Disorder?
Tuesday, April 6, 2021
SANTA FE, N.M. -- As New Mexicans welcome spring temperatures, many hope to put the coronavirus pandemic in the rear-view mirror.
At the same time, research shows many people will face post-COVID stress disorder for months to come.
Starting this week, New Mexicans 16 years and older are eligible for COVID-19 vaccines as part of Phase 2 distribution.
Scott Keeter, senior survey advisor at the Pew Research Center, has been tracking psychological distress caused by the pandemic for more than a year.
He said the most recent report shows the younger generation is still suffering.
"In particular, in this version of the report, we have flagged young people ages 18 to 29 as experiencing especially high levels of distress," Keeter explained.
Keeter noted sleeplessness and anxiety were the most common symptoms reported in the survey as respondents said the unexpected nature of the outbreak and resulting social isolation created high levels of psychological distress.
The U.S. has averaged about 64,000 virus cases a day for the last week, up 18% from the average two weeks ago, according to a New York Times tracker.
The Pew surveys were conducted at multiple points in the past year using the same panelists each time. They revealed stress levels have dropped from about 25% at this time last year to 21% now.
But Keeter emphasized minorities experienced higher levels of stress than others.
"That was particularly noticeable among Hispanics, and as a consequence we think there is more psychological distress among Hispanics than among whites or Blacks," Keeter reported.
Keeter confirmed anyone who has struggled financially during the pandemic is more likely to report distress.
The index of psychological distress is based on a set of five questions asking about anxiety, sleeplessness, depression, loneliness and physical symptoms of distress.
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