‘It could result in a pandemic of loneliness’: Peers report on how digital Covid lives altered wellbeing

The pandemic has connected us digitally during Covid, but are we all more lonely? Sophie Gallagher looks at the latest report published by the House of Lords

Wednesday 21 April 2021 07:00

uval Noah Harrari wrote recently that pre-internet, if the entire population of a country had been ordered to stay at home for several weeks – as happened in the spring of 2020 and again in November and January – it would have “resulted in economic ruin, social breakdown and mass starvation”. In the last 12 months, while the economy has taken a hit and there has been a swell in loneliness and anxiety, the widespread ability to move our lives online, was for many, a salvation. 

It was the place we could order our big shop, speak to friends and family, and do our jobs. Going online meant that we could stay at home – although frontline workers were not so protected by a screen – and ensure that virus transmission was reduced, in a bid to protect the NHS and keep the death toll as low as possible. Although: there have still been over 120,000 deaths.

Despite the obvious perks that the online world brought when our world changed overnight, there are long-term implications of moving to a digitised world – especially when many are still lacking basic access to the internet and thus risk being further shut out down the line. To presume that technology is universally the great leveller is a mistake.

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