Fear and loneliness in the time of coronavirus

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Good afternoon, readers.

We have a tendency to focus on physical ailments when we talk about public health, especially in the sort of situations we currently find ourselves in with the coronavirus outbreak.

But, just as we wouldn’t ignore the downstream effects of a crisis like this in the business supply chain, it’s important to take the downstream mental health effects of social distancing and isolation into account.

What public health agencies had been warning us about for weeks is coming true—widespread disruptions to daily life that require people to isolate themselves in some form or another. And it’s happening at a rapid pace.

This isn’t to say that you should ignore advice about social distancing (you absolutely should not). You may not really have an option given the bar, restaurant, and public facility closures that have been announced in just the past two days.

But it also isn’t fun to spend time alone for an extended period. Humans are social animals. And I’ve been hearing from my own friends and family members about how this current coronavirus situation is, well, sort of driving them stir crazy as they’re locked up in their homes.

Loneliness is a condition in and unto itself, according to the American Psychological Association (APA). It’s an issue we’ve seen linked to everything from the opioid crisis to the rise of suicides.

So if we’re really hunkering down for the next few months as the coronavirus pandemic unfolds, it’s important to keep in mind what we can do for one another while also remaining responsible.

Reach out to your friends and loved ones. And if you know somebody who doesn’t have a person to interact with directly, maybe give them a call, text, or video chat.

Read on for the day’s news.

Sy Mukherjee
sayak.mukherjee@fortune.com
@the_sy_guy

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