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'The Pandemic Had Minimal Mental Health Impacts': Twitter Reacts to the Worst Medical Study Ever

By Alberto Cox Délano | Politics | March 14, 2023 |

By Alberto Cox Délano | Politics | March 14, 2023 |


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Science journalism is a complex beast because it’s either assigned to journalists that know little about science, or to scientists that are not very good at communicating. But every once in a while, a mass media outlet will platform a discovery that, without resorting to the method, can be intuitively discarded as WRONG.

Earlier this week, the BBC reported on a meta-study, conducted by researchers at McGill, that somehow showed that the impacts of the pandemic on mental health had been minimal. They did review 137 studies, so they might be onto something after all. Don’t mind the fact that the studies were done in high-income European and Asian countries. Or that there were spikes of depression among college students. And the elderly. And LGTBQI+ people. And this cohort named “women.”

You know that famous quote by Ian Fleming? “Once is happenstance, twice is coincidence, three times it’s enemy action”? Is it coincidental that the BBC is f**king up so often? Or is it a Tory government that would really like for people to just turn the page, keep calm and carry on? Because they are doing whatever the opposite of preaching to the choir is. The core audience for BBC news are people in the UK and the US who, unlike people in high-income European countries, are utterly screwed when it comes to a functioning Welfare State and structures that could help people get through something like a pandemic. It’s just a matter of googling “US deaths by overdose 2020” and comparing. Also, it’s not like those functioning Continental welfare states did much better. As for wealthy Asian countries, I reckon it’s hard to see major downturns in mental health when they are already among the most stressed out and depressed people on earth.

The reception to the news was so poor that the BBC News tweet to the article got marked with one of those “Readers added context” fact-check boxes. In 2023. On Space Karen’s Twitter.

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The study was, of course, pure omnishambles. Even anecdotal information can end up overflowing the limits of scientific rigor. Can anyone say, with a straight face, that the pandemic wasn’t a traumatic milestone for every single person on the planet … who is not either a billionaire or an uncontacted tribe? We cannot even measure the consequences because we are going through its consequences! What is Qanon and its ilk if not a legacy of having people locked in a bubble within a bubble?

The Good Side of Twitter was quick to react and lampoon the study and the BBC’s floundering editorial standards with their experiences of Pandemic “normalcy.”

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Rough.

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He did indeed

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Honestly, I would’ve traded places at times.

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Wait, isn’t this Chris Revelle’s origin story?

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Ah, yes! I told myself I would watch the entire catalog of Soviet arthouse on YouTube’s Mosfilm channel. I told myself I would finish the Neuendorf House on Lego Digital Maker. I told myself I would finally watch that list of the Best 100 Animation Films of all time. I ended up watching Community a second time, studying Gillian Jacobs’s expressions. And moving.

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These are cute actually.

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And the chaser:

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All of these, of course, were just healthy and offbeat ways to cope. Lest we forget what is at stake: The mental health crisis is just starting:

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So remember, kids, if anyone comes to you blabbering about how the Pandemic wasn’t that big of a deal, make sure that person gets a nice case of organic buccal fat removal. They are probably the same kind of assholes that refused to wears masks or isolate after a trip abroad.

Alberto Cox would like to shout out his fellow countrypeople for swiftly adopting the use of masks in crowded places, Asian-style, without anyone making a fuss.