Civid-19 & Sustainable Living

Inasmuch as “Sustainable Living” includes both living in harmony with Earth and maximizing our quality-of-life experience, these articles about Covid-19 leading to mental illness becomes very relevant. Here are two articles from the same issue of MIT’s Technology Review. One details findings concerning mental health problems that have been surfacing … which clearly effects our quality-of-life experience. The other discusses prevention. I’ll add comments afterwards.

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One in five covid-19 patients are diagnosed with a mental illness within three months


 MIT Technology Review

12 November 2020


The news:

A new study, published in Lancet Psychiatry, has found that almost one in five people who have had covid-19 go on to be diagnosed with a mental illness within three months of testing positive.


How the calculations were made:

The researchers gathered the electronic health records of 70 million patients in the US, including 62,354 who had been diagnosed with covid-19 but did not need to be hospitalized. They found that 18% of patients were diagnosed with a mental health issue in the 14 to 90 days after a covid-19 diagnosis. They also found that covid-19 patients were twice as likely to be diagnosed with a mental health issue for the first time than those with other conditions. Anxiety disorders, insomnia, and dementia were the most common diagnoses.

The implications:

We have been warned of an oncoming tsunami of mental health problems due to the pandemic for months now. This research emphasizes the urgent need to prepare for more mental health problems across society. Read the full story.

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CDC: Masks protect wearers as well as others from coronavirus


Rebecca Falconer

MIT Technology Review

12 November 2020


If you wear a mask, you’re protecting yourself as well as others from COVID-19, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in an update on Tuesday.


Why it matters:

 “Adopting universal masking policies can help avert future lockdowns, especially if combined with other non-pharmaceutical interventions such as social distancing, hand hygiene, and adequate ventilation,” per the CDC.

“Experimental and epidemiological data support community masking to reduce the spread … Individual benefit increases with increasing community mask use.”


  • It is the strongest message yet on the importance of wearing face coverings to protect against the coronavirus.


Of note:

Face masks became a partisan issue earlier in the year, but it has become less so as the pandemic rages on. Polls show a majority of  Democrats and Republicans support wearing face coverings in public spaces.


  • President-elect Joe Biden has implored people to wear face coverings, saying on Monday: “A mask is not a political statement, but it is a good way to start pulling the country together.”



The big picture:

 COVID-19 cases are surging across the U.S., which surpassed 10 million confirmed infections on Monday.


  • The U.S. hit a record-high 130,989 new cases on Tuesday, while the number of people in hospitals across the country with the virus reached a peak of 61,964.


Go deeper: Universal mask use could save 130,000 lives in U.S.

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The latter article cited 130,989 new cases on the day before the article appeared. The number of daily infections has risen every day since. And while two new vaccines have just been announced and can soon be available for Covid-19 protection, many people have already declared their refusal to take the vaccine – or have it administered to their children. Therefore, the pandemic is an issue that won’t soon be going away. As I often do, I asked D, the entity my wife channels, for suggestions.


“For many people during this pandemic every day feels similar. This is partly because very little travel has been occurring and so much time is spent in one’s home. Humans are pack animals. Humans need other humans. And yet for each individual’s safety we are being asked to keep our distance from others. It has been a time where celebrating any event – a marriage, a birth, a birthday, or holidays – is not recommended. Many of you are coming up with creative ways to socially distance and still celebrate. 

“As winter arrives, this is going to become more challenging, and one can feel even more isolated because of the cold. In many states, governors are asking people to be even more vigilant because of the spreading of this very dangerous disease. So … 


“What does one do with all these difficult parameters?


“Find ways to connect, even if it’s not in person. Find new things to try to keep the brain activated. And find or discover small joys in everyday life. One may need to get more creative, to find different take-out foods, different places to walk, different hobbies, taking on-line classes, reading things you wouldn’t have read before. 

“We would suggest that some of the joy needs to come from a connection with nature. It could be working in a garden or greenhouse, or going for a walk in nature. One’s connection with Earth is an important one for wellbeing.”


In looking at D’s suggestions, we began seeking take-out food places that we’d never frequented before; we found two great ones that have expanded our food sources and taste variety. We’ve also gone for a walk virtually every day; a mile or two has consistently improved our disposition … and our physical conditioning. I think if we see the pandemic’s effect as a challenge to our creativity, to get out our usual routine and add variety and fitness to our lives, we can convert a downside to an upside. Bottom line: it’s up to us.

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