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A government-sponsored survey of 500 people shows the coronavirus pandemic has left half of them feeling depressed.

The reasons for feeling depressed included coronavirus fears, the lockdown, worries about family, and feeling of helplessness, said the researchers from the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), Project Community Medicine, Maulana Azad Institute of Dental Sciences, Safdarjung Hospital and the ministry of Ayush.

“There is no doubt that people are experiencing extreme anxiety owing to covid-19 pandemic due to the fear of contracting the virus and seeing so many people dying every second. This fear is further aggravated due to significant changes to our daily lives during the lockdown," the researchers said.

“The coronavirus pandemic has brought enormous uncertainty among young people, especially those preparing for examinations, hoping to start university and job-seekers and daily wage workers," the researchers added.

The research, published in Epidemiology International journal, said depression is significantly higher among illiterate, unskilled and skilled workers belonging to lower socioeconomic groups.

“During the nationwide lockdown, an online survey to assess the feeling of depression was conducted. The proportion of respondents feeling depressed was 28%. By using patient health questionnaire, the proportion of respondents with depression was found to be 51.6%, including mild depression," said Dr Jugal Kishore, professor and head, dep-artment of community medicine, Safdarjung Hospital.

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