COVID-19 Dreams, Synchronicity and Visitors from Another Solar System
Have you been sleeping well this year? If not, you're not alone. Nightmares about COVID-19—fears of being in crowded spaces, touching germy surfaces, feeling exposed without a mask—have been disturbing the sleep of people around the world. The pandemic seems to have introduced a new shared unreality, with dreams that are as alarming as that one about being late for a final exam you haven't studied for. Our cover story this month is from psychiatrist and dream researcher Tore Nielsen, who is busy studying the largest inadvertent sleep-disruption experiment in history.
COVID-19 is the worst pandemic in a century, in part because the coronavirus behaves in unexpected ways. At first, we thought the disease spread primarily through sneezes and coughs and from people touching surfaces where respiratory droplets had landed. Now we know the virus spreads through the air, often from people who don't have symptoms and don't realize they're infected. Asymptomatic transmission is one of the ways the new pandemic resembles the HIV/AIDS pandemic, and longtime researcher William A. Haseltine shares lessons for COVID-19 from the early days of AIDS. One of his more touching observations is that there is a social element to both diseases. People go to bars and parties when they are seeking companionship, which is natural and human.