Quaranteen 15 vs. Freshman 15

Groundbreaking research suggests that quarantine negatively affected the physical health of university students (Son et al., 2020). Quarantine increased academic stress in a population that was already stressed out (Grubic et al., 2020). The long-term behavioral changes of quarantine may have long-term psychological consequences (Serafini et al., 2020).

a reduction in infection growth rate on a specific day was best accounted for by the degree to which people in a county were physically distancing between 17 and 23 days earlier. (Gollwitzer et al., 2020)

Allcott et al., 2020 → “..significant gaps at the individual level between Republicans and Democrats in self-reported social distancing”

Viral Inoculum / Infective Deposited Dose

Bielecki et al., 2020 → Social distancing can “prevent the outbreak of COVID-19 while still inducing an immune response and colonizing nasal passages. Viral inoculum during infection or mode of transmission may be a key factor determining the clinical course of COVID-19.

Yang et al., 2020; Goolsbee & Syverson, 2020; Chetty et al., 2020

Voluntary social distancing quantitatively matters (dramatically reducing mobility) and needs to be explicitly modeled because official state lockdown policies (mandated distancing) cannot fully explain the reduction in mobility.

Social Distancing (14 studies)

SIPO = Shelter in Place Order

Abouk & Heydari, 2020 on how Stay at Home orders led to a >600% increase in staying home → “We show that statewide stay-at-home orders had the strongest causal impact on reducing social interactions. Other policies such as school closure mandates, large gathering bans, and more limited stay-at-home orders do not show any significant impact on keeping people at home.”

Interestingly, the authors stated that “suspecting oneself to be infected by the coronavirus was unrelated to adherence

Flaxman et al., 2020 → Europe’s #SocialDistancing played a significant role in containing the first wave of the COVID-19 outbreak

Mental Health

Current & forthcoming research on the mental health outcomes of the COVID19 pandemic reveals that the higher individuals’ perceived risk of getting COVID-19, the greater their stress (Limcaoco et al., 2020 [25 countries]; Salari et al., 2020 [meta-analysis]). Clinical psychologists & other health professionals have referred to this as Coronaphobia.


Higher scores of depression were reported among healthcare workers in as a function of their perceived susceptibility to contracting COVID-19 (Lam et al., 2020), higher psychological distress among young Chinese adults (Qiu et al., 2020), and higher anxiety among residents of Hong Kong (Kwok et al., 2020);


COVID susceptibility predicted higher stress (Campo-Arias et al., 2020; Pedrozo-Pupo et al., 2020);


About 80% of participants reported heightened anxiety, distress related to social media discussions of COVID, & difficulty sleeping (Roy et al., 2020);


Perceived infection risk predicted higher anxiety (di Fronso et al., 2020);

Middle East

Perceived susceptibility was associated with Saudi Arabian students’ self-reported stress (Al Ateeq et al., 2020), Iranian medical doctors’ heightened stress was positively associated with their age (Abdulah & Mohammed, 2020), which is consistent with higher risk of developing severe-COVID & dying among older adults (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2020);


Social distancing & quarantine were associated with a 2x-3x increase in the prevalence of Norwegians presenting with depression & anxiety (Ebrahimi et al., 2020);


Teachers’ / educators’ perceived vulnerability was associated with higher stress, and moderate stress was reported by more than half of all teachers (Oducado et al., 2021), and disaggregated data among Filipino adults revealed that older males and those with pre-existing conditions had higher chances of severe COVID19 & fatality (Garcia et al., 2020).


Perceived susceptibility was associated with higher death distress among Turkish adults (Yildrim & Guler, 2021), & among Turkish students’ self-reported rumination & anxiety (Arslan et al., 2020);

United Kingdom

Over a third of Britons have reported experiencing loneliness, depression, anxiety, & somatic disorders (Li & Wang, 2020);

United States

Adults’ reported significant increases in loneliness during the pandemic compared to before, & this was positively associated with suicidal ideation & depression (Killgore et al., 2020);


Lee et al., 2020 → COVID anxiety is associated with negative religious coping , in addition to hopelessness, suicidal ideation, and coping with alcohol & other substances.

Sex Differences

Women have generally reported higher COVID related stress than men across continents (AlAteeq et al., 2020; Younas et al., 2020; Limcaoco et al., 2020).


In October, suicides among women in Japan increased almost 83% compared to the same month the previous year. For comparison, male suicides rose 22%

South Korea

Suicide → There has been a 40%+ increase in suicides by South Korean women in their 20s, though the rate for South Korean men had been decreasing in 2020.

“In the first 6 months of COVID, Seoul women in their 20s attempted suicide nearly 5x more frequently than any other demographic.

South Korea is a very homogenous nation, and there is a very clear and very high standard for beauty among young women. And when they do not measure up to that standard, they get depressed.”

Image via https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/12/20/suicides-among-women-japan-south-korea-have-soared-covid-pandemic/


Ebrahimi et al. (2020) → refugees, lesbian/gay, bisexual, transgender, divorced & single, & unemployed individuals reported clinically significant levels of anxiety & depression.

“In conclusion, it is still important to keep social distance policy since it could not only reduce the transmission risk of SARS-CoV-2 but also be related to milder clinical course among patients. Although it could increase the difficulty of identifying the cases, the burden of health institutions may be reduced and save more medical resources especially in developing countries.” — Tianming Zhao et al (Correspondence The importance of social distancing policy)

Iatrogenic Effects of Testing Introverts

Acemoglu et al., 2020 → A point of broad agreement among different approaches is that ramping up testing capacity is one of the most effective ways of combating the pandemic (see e.g. Searchinger et al. [2020], Brumfiel [2020], and BruSoe-Lin and Hecht [2020]). How do different testing strategies impact voluntary social distancing decisions of individuals?

additional testing over this range would reduce voluntary social distancing so much that it would have no benefit in terms of containing the infection. It increases the infection probability of low-value agents and does not change the infection probability of high-value agents.

…uniform testing policies, where tests are allocated without reference to the type of agents, are worse than targeted testing policies.”

For the introverted low-value agents, a COVID testing facility may expose them to the highest number of people they’ve had to be in the same room with since March.

COVID Self-Test at UC San Diego

Non-Essential Business closures

Gupta et al., 2020 https://www.nber.org/system/files/working_papers/w28139/w28139.pdf

Exercise With a Mask

Haraf et al., 2020 on Exercise → “At rest and during mild to moderate exercise, surgical masks and likely cloth masks have been demonstrated to have no physiological impact. At intensive exercise, the available evidence (albeit very limited) suggests that there may be marginal physiological impact that is unlikely to be clinically significant.”

Civic Capital & Political Social Identity

“Using mobile phone and survey data, we show that during the early phases of COVID-19, voluntary social distancing was higher when individuals exhibit a higher sense of civic duty” (Barrios and Hochberg, 2020)

Infection Growth Rate & Political Social Identity

Hillary Clinton districts more likely to socially distance than districts of the other person in a Geo-tracking study of ~15 million cell phones. Lower distancing in deep Republican counties was associated with an increase in #COViD infections.

a reduction in infection growth rate on a specific day was best accounted for by the degree to which people in a county were physically distancing between 17 and 23 days earlier.

Fatalities: we found that counties’ physical distancing 25–31 days before a given day most strongly related to lower fatality growth on that day. Collectively, these results suggest that counties’ degree of physical distancing 17–23 and 25–31 days earlier best accounts for reductions in infection and fatality growth rates, respectively.

Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS — UCSD)

1 (858) 534–3755 . Central Office: Galbraith Hall (M-F 8am-4:30pm)

The Trevor Project

1 (866) 488–7386
Text “Trevor” to 1–202–304–1200

National Suicide Prevention Hotline

1 (800) 273–8255
1 (800) 273-TALK



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Dr. Jarryd Willis PhD

Dr. Jarryd Willis PhD

I'm passionate about making a tangible difference in the lives of others, & that's something I have the opportunity to do a professor & researcher.