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Nobody wants to mandate business closures, but so many people are getting sick that businesses are closing anyway.
A voluntary suspension of activity—a soft lockdown, essentially—will help dampen transmission of the coronavirus. This happened all over the country in spring 2020, when people began staying at home before official stay-at-home orders came down, says Saad Omer, an epidemiologist at Yale and a co-author of a paper that studied the phenomenon using anonymized cellphone data.
It’s intuitive, really. “Things become more salient; you react on that,” Omer says. This feedback loop, which conventional epidemiological models entirely ignore, can help determine the shape and duration of the Omicron wave—but exactly how is hard to predict.
The classic “epi curve” shows cases rising exponentially until so many people are immune that the spread of the virus has to slow. Then cases fall exponentially. But if soft lockdowns help suppress that viral spread, then cases will drop off sooner, while many people are still susceptible.
In other words, “when you see a peak and see it go down, it doesn’t mean the risk has abated,” says Joshua Weitz, who studies viral dynamics at Georgia Tech. According to work by Weitz and his colleagues, this helps explain why COVID cases have peaked and plateaued multiple times over the course of the pandemic.
Those peaks also tend to be asymmetrical, with steeper rises than falls. This too may be related to behavior: People might become more careful when they see an initial surge in cases but let their guard down when pandemic fatigue sets in. Just as our voluntary actions can act as a brake on rising cases, they can also slow a wave’s decline.
Omicron is surging at a time when Americans are already weary of the pandemic, so this soft lockdown may not last very long. And in communities where people are very over COVID, it may not happen at all.
Predicting how humans behave has been one of the biggest challenges of the pandemic. It’s easier to look at the impact of official policies that have start and end dates, like last year’s school or business closures. Now the shutdowns are much more of a patchwork, with some businesses closing and some events canceled, says Micaela Martinez, an infectious-disease ecologist at Emory University.
Case trends will be hard to interpret over the next few weeks. In London, where the Omicron-fueled growth of cases already seems to be slowing, a number of factors may be at the root: behavior changes, maxed-out testing capacity, or the virus running into a wall of immunity.
Whatever the effect of a soft lockdown on the spread of Omicron, it will affect the economy too. Even if customers remain willing to go out, businesses will have to close when too many employees end up sick or get stuck in quarantine.
It’s why the NHL canceled its games through Christmas and why several museums in London have closed their doors.
Shortening isolation periods in light of Omicron might help minimize these disruptions. The U.K. is now allowing sick people to test out of isolation at day seven, and the U.S. is considering a shorter period for vaccinated people with breakthrough cases.
In a soft lockdown, businesses are also on their own.
Last spring’s stay-at-home orders came with unemployment assistance and emergency loans. None of that is coming this time. “All of the decision making is put on the small-business owners,” Young says. He’ll have to shoulder the cost of closing his businesses, and then just hope they can reopen soon. In the meantime, he says, he’s buying all the rapid tests he can.
The Atlantic’s COVID-19 coverage is supported by grants from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
Sarah Zhang is a staff writer at The Atlantic
Scientists have long said getting a good night’s sleep is important to your health.
The U.S. National Institute of Health says lack of sleep may even increase the risk of impaired brain activity, or cognitive decline, and Alzheimer’s disease.
Now, an American team of scientists reports that too much sleep might be similarly linked to such conditions.
Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri, did the sleep study.
Their findings were published in the September issue of the scientific publication Brain.
Dr. Brendan Lucey is director of the Washington University Sleep Medicine Center and led the research. He said, “Our study suggests that there is a middle range, or ‘sweet spot,’ for total sleep time” for best cognitive performance.
“Short and long sleep times were associated with worse cognitive performance, perhaps due to insufficient sleep or poor sleep quality, ” Lucey added.
Words in This Story
cognitive decline – n. experience of worsening or more frequent confusion or memory loss
impairment – n. a condition in which a part of your body is damaged
sweet spot – n. an ideal or most favorable factor for particular activity or purpose
associate – v. to think of one thing when you think of another
recommend – v. to suggest that someone do something
metabolic – adj. related to a chemical process that grows and heals
key – n. something that is necessary in order to achieve something
(TAP ABOVE ON VISIT WEBSITE TO HEAR AND READ FULL REPORT ON THE SLEEP STUDY)
It Takes A Village — A Discussion on Supporting Children of Color with Mental Illnesses.
Join NAMI Washington for “It Takes a Village”, a discussion about supporting and raising children of color with mental illnesses and behavioral health concerns.
Register at tinyurl.com/namivillage
Psychosis has been identified as a rare long-term side effect of COVID-19. Dr. Daniel Bober is a psychiatrist and former mental health fellow in the U.S. Senate. He joined CBSN’s Elaine Quijano to discuss.
CBSN is CBS News’ 24/7 digital streaming news service featuring live, anchored coverage available for free across all platforms
PLEASE CHECK OUT SISTERS IN COMMON APRIL7, 2021 COMMUNITY ALERT ABOUT;
STUDY SHOW AFTER CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) INFECTIONS – BRAIN DISEASES and MENTAL DISORDERS IN ONE-THIRD (1/3) OF ALL PEOPLE WHO GOT INFECTED WITH THE VIRUS.
The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is causing a devastating effect on mental health and addiction in our African Heritage communities. We ALL must do all we can to stop it!
The Speaker: Former U.S. Congressman Patrick Kennedy , co-sponsored the 2008 Mental Health Parity Act.
Former Congressman Patrick Kennedy, is the founder and CEO of The Kennedy Forum, an organization dedicated to advancing policies and best practices to improve access to mental health and addiction services.
Former Congressman Patrick Kennedy talks about Biden Administration efforts to address the mental health crisis through expanded health coverage and more resources for addiction and mental health treatment
(Former US Congressman Patrick Kennedy is the 3rd youngest child of Senator Edward Moore “Ted” Kennedy and musician/socialite/model Virginia Joan Kennedy, and is a nephew of former U.S. President John F. Kennedy)
LONDON (Reuters) – One in three COVID-19 survivors in a study of more than 230,000 mostly American patients were diagnosed with a brain or psychiatric disorder within six months, suggesting the pandemic could lead to a wave of mental and neurological problems, scientists said on Tuesday.
The new findings, published in the Lancet Psychiatry journal, analyzed health records of 236,379 COVID-19 patients, mostly from the United States, and found 34% had been diagnosed with neurological or psychiatric illnesses within six months.
Health experts are increasingly concerned by evidence of higher risks of brain and mental health disorders among COVID-19 survivors. A previous study by the same researchers found last year that 20% of COVID-19 survivors were diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder within three months.
Post-COVID cases of stroke, dementia and other neurological disorders were rarer, the researchers said, but were still significant, especially in those who had severe COVID-19.
Saturday, Dec 12 | 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
Sponsored by African American Reach and Teach Health Ministry (AARTH) and NAMI
Poverty, Historical racism, trauma, oppression and violence
Institutional, structural and individual racism Stigma.
Overall, mental health conditions occur among African Americans are about the same or less
frequency than in White Americans. However, the historical African American experience has and
continues to be characterized by:
Processing and dealing with layers of individual trauma on top of new mass traumas from COVID-
19 (uncertainty, isolation, grief from financial or human losses), police brutality and divisive political
rhetoric adds compounding layers of complexity for individuals to responsibly manage.
Mental Health: Common & Complex
Racial, historical, generational trauma in the Black community
Hear personal experiences of those among us striving and thriving
The Systemic impact
How to address mental health in your community
Next steps for leaders and community members
One in five COVID-19 patients develop mental illness within 90 days – study
The study, published in The Lancet Psychiatry journal, analyzed electronic health records of 69 million people in the United States, including more than 62,000 cases of COVID-19.
The study also found that people with a pre-existing mental illness were 65% more likely to be diagnosed with ( CORONAVIRUS) COVID-19 than those without a pre-existing mental problem.
CLICK HERE TO READ MORE ABOUT THIS RESOURCE
In Person Info:
What: FREE COVID-19 testing available onsite.
When: July 11, 2020 from 2 PM to 5 PM
Where: Emerald City Community Seventh Day Adventist Church, 801 25th Avenue, Seattle, WA 98122
If you live in King County and are interested in attending a Mental Health First Aid training course, please email Sue Wyder, King County Mental Health First Aid Coordinator at email@example.com.
CLICK HERE TO READ MORE ABOUT THIS RESOURCE
Coming soon! A support program called Washington Listens
We are reissuing this announcement as we recognize the importance of language, and want to refer to WA Listens as a support program for our state and not crisis services.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the state is starting up Washington Listens. Washington Listens will provide non-clinical support to people experiencing elevated stress due to COVID-19.
Anyone in the state can call Washington Listens. The person calling will speak to a support specialist and receive information and connection to community resources in their area. The program is anonymous and no identifying information is maintained.
When a caller reaches out to Washington Listens, their call is routed to a live person for assistance. People who staff Washington Listens will receive basic training needed to provide support to individuals during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The following is a list of providers and tribes who are partnering to provide support to individuals statewide.
Community Integrated Health Services (CIHS) American Indian Community Center (AICC) Swinomish Tribe
Frontier Behavioral Health (FBH) Okanogan Behavioral HealthCare (OBHC)
To learn more
Read the Washington Listens f act sheet
Or contact M atthew.Gower2@hca.wa.gov or A firstname.lastname@example.org
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