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Let me just say that it should be unsurprising, as written up for The Conversation by researchers Catherine Ettman and Sandro Galea, that pandemic depression was “prevalent and persistent”—and just as unsurprising “that financial assets helped reduce the persistence of symptoms”.

Most striking to us was that a year into the pandemic, depression rates remained high, despite hopeful signs of reducing infections and deaths. In April 2021, people were lining up for COVID-19 vaccine shots, doctors were finding better COVID-19 treatmentsand efforts to reopen society were under way. But by that point, the share of adults in our survey reporting symptoms of depression had gone up to 32.8%.

Worse yet, that higher 2021 number included 20.3% who had reported symptoms of depression both in April 2020 and in April 2021. This finding suggests that poor mental health driven by the pandemic was both prevalent and persistent.

Ettman and Galea found that in 2020 “people who came into the pandemic with relatively few assets – especially financial ones – were more likely to be affected by COVID-19-related stresses”, while in 2021 “people in households earning less than US$20,000 a year were 3.5 times as likely to report persistent depression symptoms as those making $75,000”, while “people who had $5,000 or more in savings or a bank account reported less persistent depression”.

None of this is surprising precisely because we live in society in which people already experience the pressures of the intrinsic field which tells them as a matter of routine that their economic worth determines their value. The added pressure of a global pandemic couldn’t do anything but make that even more evident to them. Of course we’ve been depressed, persistently.