The Impact of the Coronavirus on the MS Community

The Impact of the Coronavirus on the MS CommunityMSAA conducted a small online survey among members of My MSAA Community, our free peer-to-peer online forum for individuals with MS, their families, and their care partners. In this survey, we asked about the impact of the coronavirus on the MS community.

Among those who responded, the results are as follows:

  • 93% are participating in social distancing to reduce the spread of the coronavirus
  • 85% are well, and along with family, have avoided the coronavirus to date
  • 33% state that their household income, insurance coverage, and/or job status have been affected
  • 40% are experiencing childcare challenges, with daycare and schools closed
  • 21% are having trouble getting food, medicines, paper goods, and/or other essential items
  • 39% are experiencing challenges in accessing healthcare (i.e., doctor, counselor, physical therapist, etc.)
  • 38% have been unable to participate in social activities and exercise, either online, via video, or outside
  • 46% are experiencing increased depression, loneliness, worry, and/or anxiety

While we wish that we would see 100% of the survey responders to be well and have avoided the coronavirus to date, we are still pleased to see that 85% continue to be well. However, the numbers to follow the first two findings are very concerning. Roughly one-fifth to more than one-third of responders are experiencing problems with finances, childcare, obtaining food and supplies, accessing healthcare, and participating in either social activities or exercise online or outside of their home. Nearly half of the respondents (46%) are experiencing increased depression, loneliness, worry, and/or anxiety.

We hope that the entire MS community may benefit from this article and take advantage of one or more of the resources listed on page 21. We also hope that anyone experiencing more acute problems emotionally, physically, or mentally… or anyone having trouble at home – from finances to childcare to obtaining food, supplies, or healthcare – will contact one of the following Helplines, as needed:

  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (800) 273-TALK (8255)
  • Disaster Distress Helpline at (800) 985-5990

Both of these Helplines are open 24 hours, seven days a week.