Millions of New Yorkers may experience lasting effects of the COVID-19 pandemic after reporting weight gain and depression, according to a newly released Siena College study.
In a poll conducted between Wednesday, June 16 and Tuesday, June 29 of hundreds of New Yorkers, 49 percent said that they gained weight during the yearlong pandemic, while more than half (51 percent) said that they felt depressed while contending with the 16-month crisis.
On the brighter side: 68 percent of those polled said that they believe the worst of COVID-19 is over, and more than half said they will feel comfortable returning to traditional summer activities without getting sick.
According to the poll, 38 percent of respondents said they got in better shape, while 44 percent developed new hobbies.
Moving forward into the fall, 76 percent said that it seems “somewhat” or “very likely” that New Yorkers will continue to work remotely, while 71 percent expect public schools to fully reopen for in-person learning.
“As most New Yorkers emerge from the coronavirus nightmare, some heavier, some in better shape and some dealing with mental health effects, most are comfortable spending time with friends, going to the beach or finally taking a vacation,” Siena College Research Institute Director Don Levy said.
“But despite fewer than one in five thinking the worst is still to come, nearly half remain worried about getting sick and 50 percent say it is at least somewhat likely that in the fall New York will experience a resurgence of COVID-19 infection.
Levy made note that while the worst of the COVID-19 appears to be in the background, New York has made strides in regaining confidence in adjusting to life in the “new normal.”
“While we haven’t made it back to living like we did prior to COVID-19, we’ve come a long way. At the end of last summer, only 34 percent thought the worst is over, today 68 percent say so,” Levy added. “At the end of last summer, only 38 percent said that they were comfortable dining indoors in a restaurant, today 77 percent do.
“The pandemic may be on the run and with 73 percent telling us that they have been vaccinated, many New Yorkers are getting back to who and what they enjoy, but the memories of this dark period won’t soon be left completely behind.”
The complete Siena College poll can be found here.
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