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Wednesday’s papers: Recovery stories, the psychological challenges of staying home, and sunny weather in store for some

The press on Wednesday looks at the corona virus recovery numbers and the psychological challenges of staying at home.

Kuvassa nainen istuu metsässä aurinkoisella säällä.
Getting outdoors can help with feelings of corona-induced anxiety and isolation, says psychologist Marko Elovainio. Image: Silja Viitala / Yle

Tabloid Ilta-Sanomat (IS) leads with a story that offers some hope in the face of the coronavirus crisis. HUS medical chief of staff Asko Järvinen tells the paper that hundreds of coronavirus patients have recovered – some of whom are over 80 years old.

"The oldest patients that I know who have recovered are over 80 years old or close to 80," Järvinen told IS.

In Finland there had been 1,384 reported cases of COVID-19, the coronavirus, and 17 deaths, as of 31 March.

The exact number of those who have recovered is not yet known, because only a portion of those who have taken ill have been hospitalised.

"Recovery takes about two weeks, if we look back at those who got sick two weeks ago, many of them have recovered," said Järvinen, who leads the infectious diseases ward at HUS, in the interview with HS.

According to Järvinen, the epidemic is still on the rise in Finland. He predicts that the epidemic will peak in May, or possibly even later in Finland.

Nevertheless, there is light at he end of the tunnel, so to speak, for Finland and the Uusimaa region.

"On our ward today, we have the same amount of patients as the previous day. Patients are already leaving," Järvinen said.

The challenges of staying home

Helsingin Sanomat's most-read story on Wednesday morning is an article about the many psychological challenges of staying at home.

According to Helsinki University professor of psychology Marko Elovainio, who is interviewed by HS, minimising social contacts is one of biggest challenges of the corona crisis.

"We’re biologically made to be social. When taking care of and maintaining social relationships becomes difficult, it’s taxing, especially if we’re forced to be alone," said Elovainio in the interview with the paper.

HS cites science publication The Lancet, which published an article in February about what types of psychological impacts previous quarantines have had on humans such as the isolation measures taken during the Sars and Ebola epidemics. Quarantine was a very difficult experience for many people, with increased fears of getting ill, bored or frustrated, reported the publication.

According to HS, the typical crisis quarantine cycle begins with shock, and the thought that this can’t be happening. For some, the start of the crisis may seem like an opportunity for those who enjoy being at home alone.

During the second phase feelings such as anxiety, fear and irritation start to rise to the surface, and many people experience difficulties concentrating. During this phase many start to get frustrated with the restrictions of being at home as it is no longer as pleasurable as it once was.

According to The Lancet, having some freedoms makes a difference in helping with feelings of isolation. Elovainio also believes that this helps, as there’s no restriction on moving outdoors in Finland -- yet.

"A sunny day can perk some up. It also helps if we can get outdoors and even see people at a distance," says Elovainio.

As not everyone has the energy to get outdoors, Elovanio suggests calling friends and relatives. "Speaking with someone else protects the psyche," he says.

The final phase is readjustment, when the mind starts to focus on the future, which is when hope enters the picture.

Frosty turn

According to tabloid Iltalehti, the weather looks to take a frostier turn in parts of the country with possible snow in store for the east and north, while warmer weather is in store for the south.

In southern and central regions, a mix of sunny and cloudy weather is in store. Snow flurries are expected in the east. Temperatures will be between +1 and +7 degrees Celsius. In northern regions it will be cloudy with snow flurries in parts and temperatures between zero and -5 degrees Celsius.

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