The Telegraph has muddled up the meaning of a scientific study on depression among people who have had Covid-19. The study in question explicitly said that its findings didn’t necessarily reflect the impact of Covid-19.
The newspaper said: “Nearly half of people struck down with Covid-19 also develop depression, according to new research.”
The research in question surveyed the mental health of 1,002 people in Bangladesh who had tested positive for Covid at some point in the past. These people were a self-selected sample, meaning they heard about the survey and wanted to take part, so they might not be representative of people as a whole.
The study found that about 48% had moderate or severe depression.
However, it does not tell us that they “go on” to develop depression as a result of catching Covid, or even that they developed it after catching Covid. The research doesn’t compare its findings with depression rates among these people before they got the disease, nor with people who hadn’t been infected at all, nor with the normal background rate of depression in Bangladesh (which may have risen during the pandemic).
A press release from Anglia Ruskin University, which worked on the research, does not say that Covid was found to cause depression. One of the study authors says it describes people suffering from depression “alongside” Covid.
The researchers themselves say in the paper: “The findings may not reflect the impact of COVID-19, especially for depression, which may have developed prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.”
You’ve probably seen a surge in misleading and unsubstantiated medical advice since the Covid-19 outbreak. If followed, it can put lives at serious risk. We need your help to protect us all from false and harmful information.
We’ve seen people claiming to be health professionals, family members, and even the government – offering dangerous tips like drinking warm water or gargling to prevent infection. Neither of these will work.
The longer claims like these go unchecked, the more they are repeated and believed. It can put people’s health at serious risk, when our services are already under pressure.
Today, you have the opportunity to help save lives. Good information about Covid-19 could be the difference between someone taking the right precautions to protect themselves and their families, or not. Could you help protect us all from false and harmful information today?