Mar. 15, 2021 -- Anthony Fauci, MD, says he’s concerned about how Americans will react once the coronavirus pandemic is brought under control, CBS News reports.
Noting that an American Psychological Association survey showed people reporting high stress levels because of the pandemic, CBS’s Norah O'Donnell asked if Fauci was worried about a possible “mental health pandemic.”
“Very much so,” Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a top White House coronavirus advisor, replied.
"That’s the reason why I want to get the virological aspect of this pandemic behind us as quickly as we possibly can because the long-term ravages of this are so multifaceted,” Fauci said.
Some of the problems could include prolonged physical symptoms and the economic effects of the pandemic, he said.
“And then the other things: Not only the mental health effects, but many people have put off routine types of medical examinations that they normally would have done,” Fauci said.
“I hope we don’t see an increase in some preventable situations that would not have happened if people had the normal access to medical care, which clearly was interrupted by the shutdown associated with COVID-19.”
The American Psychological Association released the survey results Thursday in what many people consider the 1-year anniversary of the start of the coronavirus pandemic.
“The prolonged stress experienced by adults, especially the high levels of stress reported by Americans directly linked to the pandemic, is seriously affecting mental and physical health, including changes to weight, sleep and alcohol use,” the APA said in a news release.
Some of the key findings of the survey include:
- 61% of respondents reported experiencing undesired weight changes since the start of the pandemic.
- 67% said their sleep habits changed, with 35% saying they slept more and 31% less.
- 23% reported drinking more alcohol to cope with stress.
- 47% said they delayed or canceled health care services because of the pandemic.
- 48% said their stress levels had increased.
Correction: An earlier version of the story referred to CBS's Norah McDonald. Her name is Norah O'Donnell.