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Coronavirus Anxiety Has Skyrocketed, With 85% More Worried About Life

The coronavirus is fast taking over every aspect of American life, with our collective anxiety rising sharply, creating a debilitating outbreak of worry and fear.

For the second time in two weeks, The Mighty checked in with its audience, the largest healthcare community in the world, to measure the mood. We ran a survey from March 16 to March 18, and 12,108 members of our community spent 10 minutes sharing their awareness, perceptions and experience with the coronavirus (COVID-19).

In just one week, the community has turned far more concerned about their loved ones, access to medical facilities and their potential loss of income.

Overall, 85% of people are more worried this week than they were last week, a jump of 50%. That means 92% of people are now saying they are anxious. Almost a third feel their daily life has been “extremely impacted” by their anxiety.

Here are some of their comments:

“My anxiety has skyrocketed [and] I feel like I’m barely keeping it together.”

“It has given me so much anxiety that I can’t even do basic everyday normal things in my house because I am stuck watching the news channel waiting to hear something, not wanting to miss anything. Fearful that something might happen if I turn the channel or turn [the] TV off. I usually stream Netflix and I can’t even do that anymore.”

“I have health-related anxiety and OCD. I had to completely disengage from social media as it was causing too much stress. Social media is usually my distraction from my anxiety and it has been hard to navigate.”

“Anxiety over the unknown – how long will it last, what will be the final outcome, etc.”

In fact, people are seeking an answer to one big question: How long?

How long will the crisis last? How long does it take to recover from the virus itself? How long is the incubation period? How long after you contract it are you contagious? How long will social distancing be necessary? How long will I be out of work? How long before the virus dies out?

Here’s what we also found:

  • About 30% have gone without doctor appointments; 20% have lost access to treatments; only 22% have been offered virtual appointments.
  • 38% now say the economy is one of their top concerns; 24% list loss of income as the top concern.
  • 42% of people under 25 say their lives were “extremely” impacted by anxiety, compared to only 15% of those over 65.
  • Those over 65 were more optimistic and less panicked than those under 25, but they were more distrustful. When asked their top three emotions, 23% of people over 65 chose optimism compared with 12% for those under 25; 10% over 65 chose panic compared with 25% under 25 years of age.
  • Medical professionals (695 participated in the survey) are less fearful and more curious. As a group, they are 8 points less fearful than everyone else (38% vs 45%) and 7 points more curious (31% vs 24%).

The Mighty exists to connect us in our health journeys. Some of us live with rare conditions. Many deal with the everyday challenges of chronic illness. Others are simply trying to remain healthy and care for others.

The coronavirus is unique in that it impacts all of us, whether we’re at risk or not. We will continue to survey our members over the next weeks and months to measure their mood, needs and the broad ramifications of this deadly virus.

For more information from The Mighty, check out our coronavirus topic page, where you can find new stories and daily thoughts and comments from our members.

Methodology:

  • 10 minute survey around awareness, perceptions, and experience with the coronavirus (COVID-19).
  • Total of 12,108 global respondents
  • Fielded from March 16, 2020 — March 18, 2020

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