According to this study, it has.
What I know, as we endure our third lockdown in Thailand, is that cooperation and progress is slow in an internet age of fiber optics. The strengths and weaknesses of cultures feels like it’s been on high-res display during the pandemic because while Thais are comfortable wearing masks, it’s common to see someone pull it away in order to cough or sneeze.
As a lay person, the study, as best as I can tell, appears to echo what we already know about cognitive decline in aging populations (and the mental health of astronauts and Arctic scientists who have to function in extreme conditions) who can have limited social interactions and movement.
Older populations who lack close friends are at a higher risk of dementia, and for those coping in a limited space, of Alzheimer’s. This reminded me of “kodokushi or lonely death, a Japanese phenomenon of people dying alone and remaining undiscovered for a long period of time.”
And this, in turn, made me think about longevity research because one of the key components to living a long life is having a healthy social network which is exactly what we saw reduced during lockdown. When some of my single friends moved back home in 2020, it seemed like a fantastic risk, but now, I see how it was good for their health.
So now when I think about people who have been taking risks to gather, party, see family and friends, they don’t seem like such baboons. Now, I’m not saying, they haven’t been the cause of CV hotspots and the third wave we’re experiencing in Thailand, I’m just saying, it’s biological, and people can’t take it anymore.
At the end of the study, they said policymakers should consider the repercussions of asking people to self-isolate, as well as seek out alternatives.
One of the fascinating things about Taiwan (they never went into lockdown) was how much the government emphasized educating their public. [Regular tannoy announcements on trains and TV updates, etc. on how CV spread, what to do.] And a population that trusts their leadership is a pretty big deal, too, but maybe it was earned. Mutual respect sometimes gets overlooked when talking about successful relationships.
And right now, the Thai government is trying to gain back trust with its people which has eroded through a myriad of reasons.
The consequences of governments and organizations making decisions in “isolation” also comes to mind. I don’t know about your country, but mine has been overrun by professional politicians and businessmen who are out-of-touch with real people. The 1%-ers have all the power and money, and while we envy them for it, perhaps we have it wrong – maybe it has made them dumber, too.
Do we want an educated society? Or one in which only the rich have access to a higher quality? How can we make room for healthy competition and capitalism without the majority of people suffering?
Did lockdown make us dumber? How did you counteract the 1-2 lbs of weight gain for every month we stayed at home? Or lack of stimuli? Did this pandemic change your mind about the efficacy and mental health impact lockdown has had in your country?