Coronavirus' looming psychological crisis

On the coming epidemic of despair

An isolated woman.
(Image credit: Illustrated | iStock)

In response to the swiftly escalating COVID-19 epidemic, whole countries are shutting down bars, restaurants, sports leagues, schools, theaters, and any other public place where people gather to share the essential joys of life. Citizens are being asked to shut themselves in, to limit their contact with others, and only to go out for necessities. More travel restrictions are coming. In the United States this is happening haphazardly, but these measures will eventually reach all 50 states as the seriousness of the catastrophe finally dawns on even the most reticent governors.

We are now performing an audacious and synchronous experiment on ourselves: How much isolation can the human psyche bear?

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