Govt. survey shows mental toll of COVID-19

A government survey on the psychological impact of the coronavirus indicates that it has caused anxiety in a majority of the Japanese people.

The health ministry's first online survey of its kind in September covered over 10,000 people. The ministry asked them how the raging pandemic influenced their mental health. It released the results earlier this month.

The results show that about half of those who responded said they were worried throughout the survey period between February and September.

The number peaked at 63.9 percent between April and May. The trend is in tandem with the pace of infections.

Asked what worried them throughout the survey period, more than 60 percent expressed fear that they and their families could be infected.

Questioned about any change in their daily lives, 39.1 percent said they have been exercising less after the pandemic started.

The survey substantiates arguments that the pandemic puts psychological strain on people.

Ministry officials say they will step up measures to provide psychological care as the current third wave of infections might be making the issue more serious.