COVID pandemic's long-term effects predicted in scientific journal report; authors include UCLA researchers

The U.S. is not becoming a more kind, empathetic or compassionate country due to the pandemic, the researchers found.
LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- The coronavirus pandemic and the U.S. response to it will likely affect families, work lives, relationships and gender roles for years, according to a report released Thursday which included work by UCLA researchers.

The report was published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and foresees enduring psychological fallout from the crisis, even among those who haven't been infected.

The group analyzed 90 research studies to evaluate Americans' reaction to the pandemic and predict the pandemic's aftermath.

The authors predict:

-- a decrease in planned pregnancies in a disease-ridden world,'' a drop in birthrates, and many couples postponing marriage;

-- single people will be less likely to start new relationships, and women who can afford to stay single will likely stay on their own longer;

-- women with children at home during the pandemic will be less available for paying work, as they're spending more time on child care and schooling, and they may have to depend on male partners to make money. UCLA professor of psychology and communication studies Martie Haselton said this will push the U.S. toward socially conservative gender norms and may create a backslide in gender equality.''

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-- the U.S. is not becoming a more kind, empathetic or compassionate country due to the pandemic, which is not like past crises that brings people closer.

The researchers note Americans' value for individuality and ability to challenge authority, which Benjamin Seitz, a UCLA psychology doctoral student, said does not mix well during a pandemic.

"The psychological, social and societal consequences of COVID-19 will be very long-lasting,'' Haselton said. The longer COVID-19 continues, the more entrenched these changes are likely to be.''
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