What Are the Negative Effects of Lockdown?

What are the negative effects of lockdown?

Initially it was hard to imagine that the world would survive the COVID-19 pandemic. However, many people have shown incredible resilience and courage.

One of the most important negative impacts of lockdown was the negative impact on people’s health and wellbeing, particularly for vulnerable groups such as older adults and those living with mental health issues (PLWO). The study examined the impact of the first COVID-19 lockdown on PLWO in relation to access to WMS, their mental health, their wellbeing and health-related behaviours.

The results suggest that the deterioration of PLWO’s diet and physical activity was associated with higher levels of depression. Those who attended WMS before the lockdown were more likely to report adverse changes in their diet and PA than those who did not attend WMS, as well as worsening sleep. Those who had lower wellbeing scores were also more likely to have adverse health-related behaviours during the lockdown.

It is unclear how much this effect was mediated by social-distancing measures or whether it occurred independently of them. Moreover, it is likely that some PLWO may have experienced additional care responsibilities during the lockdown that might affect their mental health.

In addition, it is possible that the negative ‘lockdown’ coefficient does not capture the negative impacts of the state-wide stay-at-home orders introduced by April but rather may be picking up differences in baseline mental health scores that existed even before the pandemic.

This is a serious concern because the negative effects of lockdown are likely to be greater for younger and more vulnerable populations than for older and less vulnerable groups. In this context, it is essential that mental health support is provided to PLWO in the run-up to lockdown and during the lockdown itself.

To investigate the relationship between lockdown and health-related behaviours, a sample of PLWO were surveyed with their health behaviours recorded and mental health assessed using the WEMWBS. Descriptive data were generated and a series of regression models was built.

The effect of lockdown on eating behavior was also investigated. It was found that individuals who reported a greater decrease in eating behavior during lockdown were more likely to report a greater increase in DDL (OR, 1.35; 95% CI, 0.90 to 2.05; p 0.001). This was significantly attenuated by eHEALS.

In terms of air quality, a significant decrease in NO2 and fine particulate matter (PM2.5) emissions was observed during lockdown periods worldwide. Specifically, NO2 concentrations were reduced by 20-30% in China, Italy, Spain and Europe, as well as 30-40% in the USA.

Similarly, PM2.5 concentrations were also significantly decreased during lockdown in the USA, China, India and Europe. This was due to a reduction in traffic and industrial pollution.

In addition, it is possible that a decline in traffic during the lockdown period could have a positive impact on energy consumption as energy use was generally reduced during lockdowns in affected nations (Worldbank 2020). This could help to reduce global energy costs and environmental pollution.