Skip to content

Are we facing an epidemic of loneliness?

The coronavirus sent many of us into two-year solitary confinement when it hit the United States in early 2020. Sparking an intense period of loss and loneliness, the experience completely changed how we navigated daily life. Now that we’re no longer in “lock-up,” many of us are left wondering if we’ll ever feel like our “normal” selves, living our pre-pandemic “normal” lives.

"Being lonely…puts people at greater risk of physical ailments that [may] seem unrelated, like heart disease, cancer, stroke, hypertension, dementia, and premature death,” writes John Leland, a journalist for the New York Times who has investigated how loneliness throughout and after the pandemic has created both mental and physical health problems.

In his recent article, Leland interviews several New Yorkers whose lives have been changed due to the pandemic and the loneliness they experience in its wake, including a man who lost his spouse during the pandemic and an immunocompromised woman, who risks more than COVID when she steps outside her apartment.

"There are more adults struggling with loneliness than have diabetes,” Vivek Murthy, the United States Surgeon General, told Leland. “Yet think about the discrepancy in the attention that we give to these two conditions.”

Blog comments