Lasting effects of the pandemic lockdown on health and wealth

A PR hook for healthcare-related companies is a survey that tells us More Bad News about the effects of the pandemic and the US lockdown. Some of it is marketing content scrum, but the quantification of lasting effects has value.

  • Early surveys came from non-profits working with (largely) non-vendors, such as the Epic Health Research Network and Commonwealth Fund/Harvard/Phreesia studies.
  • Then later tracking studies such as those published in PLOS One, by FAIR Health and the Harvard study published in Health Affairs.
  • Focused studies such as those by GoodRx, the prescription discounter, with a surprisingly deep survey concentrating on the CoronaDepressed–mental health and the worsening of anxiety and depression, inferring from prescription usage. SECOM CareTech in the UK concentrated on the effects of ‘lockdown loneliness’ on older adults.

The latest survey comes from another free prescription coupon platform, RxSaver, concentrating on financial and medication adherence:

  • 51 percent of adults reported a negative financial impact resulting from the pandemic. 65 percent of them were Hispanic.
  • Over 60 percent of millennials reported continuing financial impact one year after the pandemic’s start.
  • Where are they economizing? Unsurprisingly, medication.
    • 15 percent of adults surveyed stopped taking medication in the past year. Of this group, the under 30 cohort comprised the largest demographic segment at 23 percent.
    • Trying to manage, 21 percent have used a prescription savings coupon, but 31 percent either didn’t fill prescriptions, skipped doses, or split their pills/capsules–all of which are risky.

Phoenix Research performed a Public Insights Survey for RxSaver, N=1,000 nationally representative adults ages 18 and older, and performed 20-22 January. There was no disclosure on survey methodology. This Editor hopes that other entities use this directional information in conducting larger and less product promotional research to be used by health organizations and policy groups. RxSaver web page, release.

Lockdown Loneliness feared more than COVID-19 by nearly 1 in 6 over-65 Britons: study

Even with Margaret Keenan, 91, being the first person outside of the Pfizer clinical trial to receive a COVID-19 jab (that’s a vaccination to us Yanks) at Coventry Hospital on V-day 8 December, the Lockdown Blues will continue to play for the foreseeable future, right through the holidays and festive season. Last month this Editor noted a multi-country PLOS One study that pegged UK self-reported loneliness at 27 percent in the survey (March-April) period. 49 to 70 percent of respondents reported feeling isolated. Overall, “Being younger, female, having lower socioeconomic status, a pre-existing mental health condition, and living alone increased the odds of being lonely.” The survey was conducted via social media, so many of the findings detailed the effects among a younger group of adults.

28 percent of older Britons also believe that lockdown and enforced isolation have affected their mental health. A new study from SECOM CareTech that concentrated on older adults confirms even more depressing (sic) mental health findings in the older age group. Of their survey group of 500 people in the UK aged 65 and over (infographic at left):

  • Nearly 1 in 6 were more afraid of loneliness than COVID-19–and this is a group at high risk, with over 50 percent with one or multiple chronic conditions. A sample verbatim quoted: “I get depressed being in the house all the time, but I am too frightened to take the risk of going out even for a walk.”
  • Over half are worried about spending Christmas without their family. Another verbatim: “I seem to have nothing to look forward to now and the prospect of Christmas looks grim.”
  • 28 percent confirmed that COVID-19 had affected their mental health–of those, more than a quarter indicated that loneliness or not being able to see their family was a contributing factor.
  • 39 percent also reported that they had trouble sleeping. Verbatim: “I’ve had sleepless nights since the Covid-19 pandemic & lockdown… I’m constantly worried with the whole situation.”

What to do? Neil Fitzwalter, the care technology manager at SECOM CareTech, said, “More needs to be done to help those in long-term lockdown. That’s why we will be calling each of our CareTech customers on Christmas Day to wish them a Merry Christmas and make sure they’re okay.” Those on the monitoring teams will also be ‘signposting’ customers in the event they are experiencing a mental health crisis.