Lockdown skeptics warn of the damage to mental health caused by prolonged isolation. They are not wrong. Measures to suppress Covid-19 disrupt the social networks that are essential to mental wellbeing. What the skeptics fail to acknowledge, however, is that Covid-19 is a multi-system illness, and the fight against it is integral to mental health.
A study published today by The Lancet Psychiatry, using the electronic health records of more than 230,000 Covid sufferers, suggests a link with mental illness. One in three patients was diagnosed with a psychological or neurological illness within six months of Covid infection.
From the start of the pandemic, there have been reports of cognitive impairment and mood disorders among Covid patients. The influenza pandemic of 1918-20 brought in