Citizens of the coastal city of Buenos Aires, Argentina have seen a five-times increase in depression more than 200 days into a strict quarantine, according to a report from The Telegraph.
The quarantine, one of the world’s longest, came after the country announced it had passed one million cases of the coronavirus.
Three out of four people, or seventy-five percent, now have sleep problems in Buenos Aires, while one in two have decided to stop daily activities.
The scope and depth of the quarantine has gradually extended from what was initially thought to be a short period of time, much has been the case in the United States.
Initially, a 10-day period was passed down by the Argentine government on March 20, but was then extended to week and months.
Restrictions were lifted for large parts of the country in June, but in Buenos Aires, home to 40 percent of the country’s population, those 10 days turned into seven uninterrupted months of lockdown.
“When the quarantine came, I had to close my business completely. There came a time when I owed seven months of rent, six months of electricity, six months of gas, and union and accounting fees,” said Daniel Aponte, whose bar in the area now only offers outdoor service.
Business owners have been hardest hit. According to a top World Health Organization official, there may be a “doubling of world poverty” by next year due to the effects the virus and lockdowns have foisted on the world, and Argentina is among those suffering the most, as Aponte’s story illustrates.
“It’s a desperate situation because we’re very much in debt and we’re going to have to work a lot and wait a long time to catch up, and since we don’t know what’s going to happen next, it’s a terrible uncertainty, which has affected me disproportionately in terms of my state of mind,” Aponte added.
More than 42,000 small businesses have closed since the beginning of the pandemic in the country, according to its Chamber of Commerce and services. Hundreds of thousands are now without work.
Depression, sleep problems and lethargy in general have continued to mount in the country.
“When compulsory isolation is prolonged, chronic stress begins to arrive, which is linked to anxiety disorders, depression and addictions,” said Dr Patricio Cristóbal Rey.
“These symptoms also generate sleep problems and various physical ailments,” he said.
Residents have spoke about the numbing effect of social isolation.
“Having more than 200 days without pleasant stimuli, such as social meetings, trips or outings affected my motivation…even more so knowing that the economic situation in my context is terrifying,” said Azul Weimann, who is in the third year of studying to be a nutritionist and now has sleeping problems and an eating disorder.
Another resident, a woman named Julieta who works nine hours a day from home, said she has had anxiety attacks and is now undergoing therapy.
She has trouble getting out of bed and has been unable to eat.
While the virus has its potential consequences, mostly on those with serious pre-existing conditions, the evidence is clear: quarantines have their own serious consequences, and in large part, they do not discriminate.