In the medical journal JAMA Network Open, Boston University researchers found that half of American adults surveyed reported some signs of depression.
Among the symptoms include hopelessness, feeling like a failure, or finding little pleasure from doing things. The estimate is double the rate from a separate survey two years ago.
The study did not ask about any diagnosis they might have received, and for many people, the problem is mostly angst rather than full-blown psychiatric illness. But experts say the feeling is genuine and deserving of professional help.
For some people, it stems from lost loved ones and the financial distress and social isolation the outbreak has caused.
Experts say Americans are also feeling anxiety over the racial and political upheaval of the past few months, though the BU study was conducted before the recent tumult.
“There is no question that many people in the US and worldwide are experiencing real and often distressing emotional reactions to the Covid-19 pandemic and, in some cases, to contracting the virus,’’ said psychiatrist Dr. Ronald Pies, a retired professor at SUNY Upstate Medical University.
The global outbreak has caused more than 850,000 deaths and almost 26 million confirmed infections. US cases total 6 million, with about 185,000 deaths.