Memory loss because of two years of epidemic


AmericaWhen she had to fill in her year of birth, Lauren Bendik took a while to remember how old she was.

“31 years old? No, I’m 32. Two bland birthdays make me forget. It’s hard to know what I’ve done in the past two years,” Lauren said.

Previously, the woman living in Los Angeles, USA had a pretty good memory of the time and events of the year. But since losing her job, every day with Lauren has been the same.

“I have nothing left to mark the time. I don’t know when the translation will end. I am waiting for something that will never come”, she sighed.

For 28-year-old Gabriela Barge, a high-end wedding planner, 2019 feels like it has just passed. Some of her clients have had to reschedule their weddings three times. And Gabriela also has to prepare the wedding for them from 2020 and until 2022, it has not been possible.

In early 2020, Alexandra Lange was working on a book project on the history of the mall when the pandemic brought work to a halt, and she had to cancel a research trip to New Jersey.

By May 2021, Lange also made the trip, but the consequences left business precarious, many stores could not open. Documenting his experience in an upcoming book, Lange sets the date as May 2020. But neither she nor the editors realized the mistake until the proofreader realized the point of absurdity when they were already in 2021.

Many people suffer from memory loss after two years of the epidemic. Illustrations: Jialun Deng/The Washington Post

A September 2021 study of 150 female students at an Italian university showed a marked decline in both working memory and prospective memory during the pandemic. But this memory decline did not surprise psychologists.

“Being different improves memory,” says psychology professor Daniel Schacter at Harvard University. But every day goes by the same due to unemployment or taking care of young children at home, causing people to lose the ability to distinguish events and impaired memory. This messes with the memory.

Besides, poor memory is also a sequelae after Covid-19 infection. Chimere Smith used to have a sharp memory before contracting the disease in March 2020. No hospitalization or fever, but the female patient noticed memory decline with fatigue and difficulty concentrating.

Every time she wakes up, the young girl doesn’t remember where she is. Even relatives called to ask, she looked at the name displayed on the screen and took a while to remember who it was.

“Sometimes my memories of myself are blurred. What’s my name? What’s my birthday? What do I do… I can’t remember,” Chimere said.

She used to take pride in remembering the lectures and the students she taught so well, but now Chimere no longer remembers how to grade. She admits that the marks in her work have not yet been recovered.

Currently, she is prescribed memory-enhancing drugs at Johns Hopkins Hospital. Her condition has improved, but sometimes she forgets to turn off the faucet and leave her shoes in the toilet because she forgets where to put them.

Unable to return to school, Chimere decided to support people affected by post-Covid-19 with memory impairment, especially the black community.

“Cognitive decline in people who have had Covid-19 is alarming. As the number of people experiencing this problem is increasing and needing care,” Mariam Aly, associate professor of psychology at the University Columbia, said.

Not having Covid-19, but Cae Farrington, 24 years old, living in Florida, USA is trying to not have memory loss. Farrington is an illustrator, but started having trouble with memorization in August 2020.

“After living with the pandemic for so long and staying at home, I wonder if this will have a long-term impact? And what effect will it have on me in my old age,” he said, adding that he had to make an outline list. Things to do to avoid forgetting.

Minh Phuong (According to the Washington Post)

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