(by Louis Toffoli)
The COVID-19 pandemic has been an unprecedented event that has dramatically impacted the world. However, with other countries now starting to contain the virus, the United States is left showing it was not fully prepared.
As the United States continues to try and limit the spread of the virus, one group is impacted the most: the average American. They have taken the majority of the financial and emotional burden created by the COVID.
In this article, we will be covering how Americans are holding up during COVID. Along with the financial impacts. We will also cover the effects on mental health from lockdowns and these uncertain times.
The Unemployment Crisis
After reaching the lowest unemployment rate in over 50 years, the U.S job market went into free fall. COVID cases popped up all across the country, causing jobs to be at a standstill. Businesses lost customers due to fear and had to close their doors because of lockdowns.
These circumstances left business owners with no other choice but to furlough their workers. As the COVID continues to impact the country, many small businesses have permanently shut their doors.
With millions of unemployed Americans and now without any job prospects, many have fallen significantly behind paying their bills. Lacking government assistance has played a large part in the growing number of missed mortgage and rent payments—putting 30-40 million Americans at risk of eviction.
With nowhere to get sufficient government financial assistance, the COVID-19 pandemic has left many Americans with a sense of abandonment from the government and have become hopeless.
Food Bank Shortages
As Americans struggle to pay their bills, there have been record levels of food insecurity for families. According to one estimate earlier in 2020, food insecurity levels rose to affect as many as 23% of households.
With this rising food insecurity level, food banks are starting to run low on supplies and cannot keep up with the demand. Lines of cars that span miles leading to food banks have overloaded the system.
With all of this happening around them, people are starting to feel the strain on their emotional well-being.
The Impacts on Mental Health
Aside from the devastating financial impacts, the pandemic has also taken a significant toll on the mental state of Americans. Many of our daily activities, such as work, school, or social events, have moved strictly online and at home.
This isolation has left many Americans frustrated, anxious, and wondering when it will all be over. The stay-at-home orders have also piled on more responsibilities for Americans, leading many to feel overwhelmed.
As parents attempt to balance both work and to homeschool their children, many have been hit by what is now known as COVID-19 burnout. Some of the most common symptoms of being emotionally burnt out by the pandemic are:
- Becoming easily frustrated
- Feeling isolated, indifferent, or apathetic
- Isolating or disconnecting from others, even virtually
- Practicing poor self‐care
- Feeling tired, exhausted, or overwhelmed
The overwhelming responsibilities, lack of social interaction, and fear of the virus have started to cause workers to be less productive. Paired with a stressful home-life, this has become a recipe for an increased number of mental illness diagnoses and substance abuse.
The COVID-19 pandemic has been a tough time for Americans. However, it has also shown the resilience and kindness of others who are willing to help during these troubling times. Below are two charities striving to make a difference and help those who are most in need.
Community Action Agency: With thousands of branches located in the United States, the CAA helps those in need of immediate financial help. Additionally, they help with finding employment for the unemployed.
Catholic Charities: No matter your religion or background, the Catholic Charity Organization provides financial and food assistance for those in need. There are over 3,000 locations across the United States that you can turn to for help.