There is a reason this third and (God willing) final lockdown is affecting many of us more acutely than the previous two and that is sheer longevity. At the time of writing this, we have been in lockdown for 359 days but it feels more like 1,000. Humans are hardwired for connectivity: data from countless studies
on mammals show that we are profoundly shaped by our social environment and suffer when those social bonds are severed, particularly for long periods of time. In studies
, when rats are separated and deprived of stimuli they withdraw, lose weight and are more likely to contract terminal diseases than their socialized counterparts. It is the same for humans. A study
by the Royal Society found that a lack of social connection can lead to depression, poor sleep quality, accelerated cognitive decline, poor cardiovascular function and impaired immunity at every stage of life.