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The Need for Social Connection to Prevent Social Isolation and Loneliness

The impact of Covid-19 has been seen among the entire population across the globe because most countries have faced the impact of the coronavirus and the impact of lockdown. People have faced lots of depression, anxiety and mental issues due to staying at home for a longer period of time. The risk of Covid-19 and severe illness are some serious concerns for older adults compared to young adults because most older people are retired and do not have many options to stay busy only at home. Social distancing and isolation are increasing the negative impact on older people. With the physical health issues, the older people have faced the mental issues while staying only in their homes. This research will elaborate on the ideas and statements of different authors. The research will choose a certain number of articles and based on a few themes it will discuss the impact of Covid-19 on older people in terms of loneliness and social isolation.

According to Sepulveda-Loyola et al. (2020), there is a huge need for social correction among young and old people in order to keep themselves mentally fit in the situation of Covid-19. The connection being socially is one of the key roles that can prevent social isolation and loneliness among the older as well as young people. The social interactions, networks and relationships with neighbours, families and friends can keep someone mentally fit which can keep a person physically fit as well.

In the words of Krendl & Perry, (2021), older people use to live alone with limited resources in their homes and also have memory or cognition issues with a higher risk of social isolation and Covid-19 can make it worsen for the older people. In Australia, it can be seen that people use to live alone and separated from their parents and sons. Thus that normally keeps older people lonely and the impact of Covid-19 and lockdown made it impossible for older people to have a lack of communicate with their own people.

According to Van Tilburg et al. (2021), the increasing rate of social isolation due to Covid-19 has added a burden to caregivers and families with older people, reducing their access to healthcare services which has impacted older people mentally in terms of not getting proper treatment. Due to strict guidelines, people were unable to move here and there and there were no such chances to meet with families and go for events and other purposes. Keeping busy with daily activities can make the older people happier but due to the pandemic they were just sitting at home without doing anything and that impacted them mentally.

As stated by Douglas et al. (2020), it is quite obvious that with social isolation people seem to face more depression and anxiety because they cannot express their feelings to others and keeping them inside leads to thinking only about negative things. Even if younger adults can have different options to keep themselves busy while staying at home due to pandemic and lockdown, due to a lack of proper resources older people seems to be more depressed while staying at home.

Living Alone and Limited Resources in Homes Worsening the Impact of Covid-19

According to Morrow-Howell, Galucia & Swinford, (2020), people have not seen such a pandemic ever in their life and that was quite unexpected for people to accept the situation. Older people were not ready to be staying within the home only. This complete isolation has increased their negative thinking which has reduced their life of not being physically and mentally fit.

According to Robb et al. (2020), prior to the outbreak of coronavirus, it has been seen that older people use to participate actively in different activities socially such as travelling, social events, attending church activities and many more. Due to the restrictions of Covid-19, the older have faced issues like not getting primary carers from their family due to staying separately or staying in some aged care homes. Families cannot visit the older people to take care of them on a regular basis because of the imposed lockdown and that led them to stay alone. Not getting people meals on time, any family visits and social isolation are impacting the physical health of the older people.

As stated by Palmer et al. (2020), it has been found that social isolation due to a pandemic has an impact on an individual's well-being and health. Loneliness and social isolation are the major risks considering the mental health and physical status among older adults such as heart disease, blood pressure, diminish immune system, depression, obesity, cognitive functioning and mortality. In terms of long impact, the habit of staying alone for a longer period of time due to the lockdown and pandemic can negatively impact their future life. The older people have a set a separate mindset due to this pandemic which has changed their thinking and way of living due to Covid-19.

According to Williams et al. (2020), from the early research it has come into consideration that before lockdown, older adults were actively supporting friends, family and neighbours in terms of giving comforts, companionship, shopping for others and cooking a meal for each other to help each other at this older age. But due to the pandemic, lockdown, social isolation and physical distancing, the older adults are unable to meet and provide support to each other. This has increased the wall in between them and unable to lead their daily life which they used to do before the pandemic.

In the words of Kato, Sartorius & Shinfuku, (2020), Post pandemic has also led people to visit the stores by keeping the physical or social distance to be aware of the pandemic. In addition to that, in order to avoid physical contact with other people, the older people used to keep themselves away from gathering, events and meetings. This is increasing the concept of social interaction with people where due to not interacting with the society people are not using communication to be active socially.

According to O’sullivan et al. (2021), it has been come into consideration the impact of Covid-19, in terms of long term effects people have to face high disease because long term isolation socially can increase the level of stress among old people and that can increase their mental condition. The grief disorder and depression with short term outcomes such as the communication gap between families will be increased.

Reduced Access to Healthcare Services Due to Covid-19

According to Moore & March, (2022), older people are lacking behind in terms of resources to deal with the stress of Covid-19 and that is one of the reasons why older people seems to face more depression compared to younger adult in the same pandemic condition. The materials that can be included are such as lack of smart technology, lack of meeting with friends and close people, biological or cognitive resources such as engaging in physical exercises or participating in different routines of social activities.

As stated by Farooq, Laato & Islam, (2020), adult people in Australia seem to face lots of diseases in their older age and that is because of several reasons. The density of population seems to be low in Australia where people used to live within a certain distance from others. In addition to that people love to live separately from their parents due to several reasons, but they also met with each other quite often throughout the days or week. But due to the scenario of a pandemic, it has not been possible for them to do so. Thus that hurts them mentally being separated from others.

According to Galea, Merchant & Lurie, (2020), social isolation is quite a well concern within the older population but it has had a huge impact on psychological, social health and physical gained greater awareness due to the outbreak of Covid-19. The pandemic has highlighted the crucial aspects of social connection and attachment in terms of physical presence and that is quite specifically for seniors. It has been found that due to the pandemic the grandchildren were unable to meet with their grandparents and that has reduced the attachment between them by a certain percentage. This is because the old people have consumed to live to restrictions and bound due to the pandemic.  

In the words of Smith, Steinman & Casey, (2020), the isolation socially due to the pandemic has become urgent to keep the older people safe from the spread and impact of the Covid-19. The social and physical distancing has created distress, and depression among older people, but it also has to keep in mind that for the betterment of healthcare the restrictions have been taken by the government because the impact was much higher for the older people compared to the younger.

According to Gorenko et al. (2021), older people before lockdown used to stay at home and feel lonely because in Australia according to western culture people used to live separate from each other and does not have much more relatives to visit and had to meet with each other. On the other hand, the outbreak has ensured the restriction to not come out of homes for a longer period of time and that lead to more set of depression among them which physically and mentally distracted them to keep fit and healthier.

As stated by Hwang et al. (2020), the long term collapse in terms of social contact and the fraying of social bonds are increasing the negative impact in terms of loss of interaction with people surrounding them over time. This is because while staying at home for a certain period of time, people are taking that as a habit to make sure that is fine and living in their own space. The effect of social recession can be harder to reverse and asses than those of economic recession.

Increased Depression and Anxiety Due to Social Isolation in Older People

According to Müller et al. (2021), both during the period of pandemic and current normal phase, people should screen for social isolation and needs to take proactive steps to alleviate it. This is because getting emotionally attached to someone can also lead to impact negatively when that attachment is away from that person. Similarly, older people can have an attachment to their family, and friends. Therefore due to the pandemic, not being able to have proper communication and meeting can increase the impact. As well with a longer period not being attached and communication can also reduce the attachment from the older people as well.

According to Siegmund et al. (2021), People have lost their close ones' lives due to the pandemic of coronavirus among which the older people also lost their close people. If they can have social interaction during that period, then the negative thinking from the older people can be reduced. But due to the imposed lockdown older people faced more distress and depression for not being with their families and friends in terms of communication, sharing and caring and many more other factors.

As stated by Steinman, Perry & Perissinotto, (2020), staying at home alone creates more problems compared being busy doing different kinds of activities. This is where the older people are getting the challenges due to the pandemic. The young people are busy doing their work from home activities, studying and other activities were keeping them busy. But older people, are mostly retired and spend most of the time just watching TV, reading books and all. Therefore, the rate of depression is higher in this case due to a lack of daily life activities.

In the words of Wu, (2020), there is a different perspective related to the long term effect due to the pandemic on both physical and mental health which is resulting in daily lifestyle for the older people. Reducing exercise in homes can increase the weakness among older people and can also reduce balance or mobility.

As stated by Noone et al. (2020), the Covid-19 has forced people to sit at home only but the up-gradation of technology has increased the chances to let people not missing the social isolation. Most people across the globe is having a smartphone and also have different social media channels to communicate in this pandemic situation.

According to Barbosa Neves et al. (2019), the advancement of technology quite helped people to stay connected with people and to have effective communication with each and every one without having a physical meeting. Starting from the young adult to older people, everyone got the opportunity to ensure about in spite of having lockdown scenarios.

According to Beaunoyer, Dupéré & Guitton, (2020), the use of social media and digital platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube has many more increased because people had to pass their time just by sitting at home all the time. With the productivity work, the use of technology has ensured to provide entertainment to older and younger people.

Impact of Covid-19 on Older People's Socially Active Engagement

In the words of Xie et al. (2020), it becomes easier for older people to have effective communication with families and friends by using video conferencing and the chatting process. The utilization of different software and application platforms has ensured that people can be productive as well as can have some entertainment.

As stated by Moqbel & Kock, (2018), sitting alone at home can cause depression and anxiety to people. Considering that, technology has enhanced with different online tools to let people not face depression because of not meeting or having any activities within homes.

According to Nowland, Necka & Cacioppo, (2018), retired older people do not have enough resources to keep themselves busy surrounding the home environment and for that, the power of social media and digital platforms were quite effective to have some busy time using the tools.

As stated by Reed & Bohr, (2021), it has also been found from the research that the technological power the way of doing activities and the usability have also negatively impacted the younger age people. Due to the forceful lockdown of schools and colleges, students of younger ages used their smart devices most of the time which has reduced their level of intelligence.

In the words of Wiederhold, (2020), depending on the benefits of technology, people consumed the bad things about social media and different other platforms where it has been seen that young adults used to spend most of their time doing unnecessary activities on their phones which has drastically reduced their power of productivity.

According to Drouin et al. (2020), students belonging to different age groups were unable to visit schools and colleges due to imposing lockdown. But with different online and educational platforms, it became easier for them to ensure about continuing their educational process. Thus it can be said that not everyone takes the negative side, few have also gained the positive side as well.

As stated by Marston, Musselwhite & Hadley, (2020), older people in daycare used to have other companions to have a chit chat in order to make time pass. But those people who were separated from family due for several reasons got the help of the internet and different technologies to reduce the communication gap.

According to Conroy et al. (2020), nowadays the current generation cannot think of themselves without having the usability of the internet and technology. Starting from making friends to doing research, the use of the internet and smart devices has been seen in this pandemic situation.

In the words of Saltzman, Hansel & Bordnick, (2020), the social isolation has been reduced drastically because, with the power and support of digital and social media, people seem to have a connection with different kinds of people which let them believe that there are people to take care of younger age.

According to Wright & Wachs, (2021), people across the globe were not ready to face such a pandemic which has not been seen by anyone before. So the sudden causes of lockdown and the fast spread of Covid-19 have put people behind the bars of home. The only friends who have supported each kind of people are the technology.

Impact of Social Isolation on the Well-being and Health of Older Adults

According to Rodrigues et al. (2020), social isolation does not only mean staying at home and not talking with people rather no such kinds of event management, gathering and other processes also fall under the social isolation where based on the power of social media people have fulfilled their desires of socially active.  

As stated by Alaqra & Kitkowska, (2021), the technological power does not help people to pass the period of Covid-19 but also ensured to have a change in the working process and think of the world from a different perspective. Technology helps people to increase the number of a small businesses based on online platforms which also reduced the impact in terms of social isolation

According to Shah et al. (2020), in Australia often it can be seen that people are not able to recognize their neighbours because of not being active socially. But the pandemic has led people to be active on social media and from there a conversation with neighbours has been seen with positive notes.

As stated by Antonello et al. (2020), it has been found that people who have never known about technology and social media have learned the use them to be connected with people in different ways so that they do not feel depressed in social isolation.

In the words of Duraku & Hoxha, (2020), different cultural activities, shows and many other things made it realistic for people to match with the real things and that made it easier for people to stay at home and not go here and there unnecessarily to keep them safe from coronavirus.

According to Chen et al. (2021), the young people who have stayed at home have gained lots of knowledge through different channels and platforms and that becomes effective for them for future perspective. But the older people have faced issues while having the internet as well. This is because they were unaware of using smart devices which led them to sit alone in their home without doing anything.

According to Hodder, (2020), the use and power of technology have helped people in terms of interaction and communication with others while being socially isolated. Both younger and older age people got benefitted from technological power.


The research has showcased the viewpoints of the different researchers on the chosen two themes where it has been found that due to the pandemic people have faced depression, anxiety and different other kinds of physical and mental disorders. People were not aware of the pandemic before and that led them to cope with the situation after a long period. Internet, social and digital and many other forms of technology have helped different age groups to be busy doing different activities during the pandemic.


Full Reference

“Golden Threads” and evaluation of data source



1. Impact of social isolation and loneliness among older populations due to COVID-19.

Sepúlveda-Loyola et al., (2020)

The main outcomes reported were anxiety, depression, poor sleep quality and physical inactivity during the isolation period.

The main outcomes reported were anxiety, depression, poor sleep quality and physical inactivity during the isolation period.

Secondary data collection method.

Krendl & Perry, (2021)

Older adults reported higher depression and greater loneliness following the onset of the pandemic. Loneliness positively predicted depression. 

This paper examined whether social isolation due to the COVID-19 shelter-in-place orders was associated with greater loneliness and depression for older adults

Primary method – phone interview

Van Tilburg et al., (2021)

In this pandemic, the loneliness of older people increased, but mental health remained roughly stable. 

This article hypothesizes that consequent reduction in the frequency of social contacts, personal losses, and the experience of general threats in society reduced well-being.

Primary data collection

Douglas et al., (2020)

Social distancing measures to control the spread of covid-19 are likely to have large effects on health and health inequalities

Countries worldwide have implemented strict controls on movement in response to the covid-19 pandemic.

Primary data analysis

Morrow-Howell, Galucia & Swinford, (2020)

Older adults may have lasting emotional effects from increased isolation and anxiety

This article overviews challenges to be minimized, including economic setbacks, health and well-being effects, and highlighted ageism, racism, and classism.

Robb et al., (2020)

Overall, 27.2% of the cohort reported that they felt lonely sometimes or often, more in women (34.8%) than men (17.7%).

With unprecedented population aging; the consequences of social isolation on the mental wellbeing of older people are emerging as a significant public health concern, now exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic 

Primary data collection

Palmer et al., (2020)

Integrated care and clinical monitoring of NCD patients are essential for maintaining medication adherence. 

certain NCDs appear to increase the severity of COVID-19 and mortality risk, SARS-CoV-2 infection in survivors with NCDs may also affect the progression of their pre-existing clinical conditions.

Primary data collection

Williams et al., (2020)

Most participants, and particularly those in low-paid or precarious employment, reported feeling that the social distancing and isolation associated with COVID-19 policy has had negative impacts on their mental health and well-being during the early stages of the UK’s ‘lockdown’.

This study explored UK public perceptions and experiences of social distancing and social isolation related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Primary data collection

Kato, Sartorius & Shinfuku, (2020)

There are similarities and differences between hikikomori and COVID?19?related social isolation.

There are similarities and differences between hikikomori and COVID?19?related social isolation.

Secondary data collection method

O’sullivan et al., (2021)

It was found that the prevalence of severe loneliness was 21% during COVID-19 with 6% retrospectively reporting severe loneliness prior to the pandemic. A fifth were defined as isolated based on their usual connections, with 13% reporting a substantial increase in isolation during COVID-19.

This paper is based on cross-sectional online survey data (available in 10 languages, from 2 June to 16 November 2020) with 20,398 respondents from 101 different countries. 

Primary data collection

Moore & March, (2022)

Suggestions for maintaining health and the importance of support during times of trauma, such as the COVID-19 pandemic

Suggestions for maintaining health and the importance of support during times of trauma, such as the COVID-19 pandemic

Primary data collection method

Farooq, Laato & Islam, (2020)

Cyberchondria and information overload had a significant impact on individuals’ threat and coping perceptions, and through them on self-isolation intention.

This study investigates the impact of online information on the individual-level intention to voluntarily self-isolate during the pandemic.

Primary data collection method

Galea, Merchant & Lurie, (2020)

In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, it appears likely that there will be substantial increases in anxiety and depression, substance use, loneliness, and domestic violence; and with schools closed, there is a very real possibility of an epidemic

This paper deals with the Need for Prevention and Early Intervention.

Secondary data collection method.

Smith, Steinman & Casey, (2020)

The aging social services network provides a vital infrastructure for reaching older underserved and/or marginalized persons across the U.S. to reduce social isolation.

The primary purposes of this article are to provide an overview of the complex interconnectedness between social isolation, loneliness, and depression


Gorenko et al., (2021)

Taken together, social isolation and additional psychological impacts of the pandemic (e.g., worry, grief) underscore the importance of intervention efforts to older adults.

Recommends to overcome barriers to implementation and delivery are provided, with consideration given to the different living situations.


Hwang et al., (2020)

The risk of COVID-19 infection is greater for older adults over the age of 60 years

In addition to quarantine and isolation procedures for those who have been exposed to or infected with COVID-19


Müller et al., (2021)

Strengthening coping skills may be a support strategy during lockdowns, especially for lonely older individuals.

strengthening coping skills may be a support strategy during lockdowns, especially for lonely older individuals.


Siegmund et al., (2021)

Consistent with our a-priori model, higher social isolation predicted greater depression.

This pandemic-imposed social isolation may be more prevalent in older adults than in the general population given the higher risk of depression, and morbidity and mortality from COVID-19 in this population.


Steinman, Perry & Perissinotto, (2020)

Physical distancing and social isolation may take a heavy toll not only on their mental health, but also on their physical health and functioning.

Highlight the health challenges for community-dwelling older adults and offer targeted suggestions for actions clinicians can take to mitigate these threats.


Wu, (2020)

The outbreak of COVID-19 will have a long-term and profound impact on older adults’ health and well-being globally.

Social isolation and loneliness are likely to be one of the most affected health outcomes. 


2. Impact of technology on social isolation due to COVID-19.

Noone et al., (2020)

Based on this review there is currently very uncertain evidence on the effectiveness of video call interventions to reduce loneliness in older adults.

The primary objective of this rapid review is to assess the effectiveness of video calls for reducing social isolation and loneliness in older adults. 

Primary data collection method

Barbosa Neves et al., (2019)

The technology was a feasible communication tool, although requiring an adaptation period.

The technology was a feasible communication tool, although requiring an adaptation period.

Primary data collection method

Beaunoyer, Dupéré & Guitton, (2020)

Although the mitigation strategies proposed in this article specifically aimed at reducing the reciprocal effects of digital inequalities and the COVID- 19 crisis, they will also contribute to win the war against this invisible enemy.

this paper aims at exploring the reciprocal impacts of the COVID-19 crisis and digital inequalities, and to propose operative solutions to help fight the nefarious consequences of the crisis. We first describe how digital inequalities are a determinant of health.

Primary data collection method

Xie et al., (2020)

Going digital alone is insufficient in reaching vulnerable populations like older adults

Going digital alone is insufficient in reaching vulnerable populations like older adults

Secondary data collection method

Moqbel & Kock, (2018)

 SNS addiction fosters task distraction, which inhibits performance.

This article attempts to fill this void by examining, through the lens of social cognitive theory, the extent SNS addiction impacts personal and work environments. 

Primary data collection method

Nowland, Necka & Cacioppo, (2018)

lonely people may need support with their social Internet use so that they employ it in a way that enhances existing friendships and/or to forge new ones.

Drawing conclusions about the impact of the digital world on loneliness is difficult because there are contradictory findings, and cross-sectional studies dominate the literature, making causation difficult to establish.

Primary data collection

Reed & Bohr, (2021)

The intersection of the community’s-built environment and socio-structural factors interact to predict social isolation or social loneliness, influence perceptions related to objective accessibility, and are a potential determinant for social wellbeing, especially for socially disadvantaged individuals or households who are unable to access opportunities or spaces outside of their community.

Local environments play influential roles in shaping individual and population-level outcomes.

Primary data collection

Wiederhold, (2020)

Both in the United States and around the world, governmental agencies and hospitals have specific plans in place to handle the population’s physical health needs during a pandemic such as this.

Technology may help shape us, but do not forget that we help shape it as well. We can use it to be creative. We can use it to be kind. We can use it to be together.

Secondary data collection

Drouin et al., (2020)

social media is used by government agencies to field and dispense information to effectively manage disasters.

parents reported that both they and their children (especially teenagers aged 13–18) had increased technology and social media use since the beginning of social distancing.

Primary data collection

Marston, Musselwhite & Hadley, (2020)

For many families there will be a concern about how to entertain children while also conducting and keeping up to date with schoolwork, their own respective work responsibilities, as well as financial worries.

A space where members of the British Society of Gerontology discuss contemporary issues raised by ageing societies.


Conroy et al., (2020)

Technological advancements have offered remarkable opportunities to deliver care and maintain connections despite the need to stay physically separated.

his paper aims to discuss the practicalities of using emerging technologies to address elderly loneliness and its implications and adaptations to the outbreak of corona virus disease–2019.


Saltzman, Hansel & Bordnick, (2020)

Social support is an important consideration for understanding the impact of COVID-19 Psychological First Aid and Skills for Psychological Recovery.

Social support is an important consideration for understanding the impact of COVID-19 Psychological First Aid and Skills for Psychological Recovery


Wright & Wachs, (2021)

These findings suggest the importance of considering the implications of societal crisis or pandemics on adolescents' close relationships, particularly their romantic relationships.

The purpose of this study was to examine the moderating effects of technology use for relationship maintenance on the longitudinal associations among self-isolation during the coronavirus-19


Rodrigues et al., (2022)

online interventions to combat the consequences of social isolation

To summarize the psychological impacts of social isolation amongst older adults during COVID-19


Alaqra & Kitkowska, (2021)

findings provide insights for designing and developing new technologies, especially for communication and entertainment, to support users’ needs during a pandemic.

This article explored the role of technology and the extent of usage by end-users.


Shah et al., (2020)

findings provide insights for designing and developing new technologies, especially for communication and entertainment, to support users’ needs during a pandemic.

explore the role of digital technology in tackling lockdown loneliness amid the pandemic. 


Antonello et al., (2020)

Specialists attribute many communications and affective impairments to the increasing use of social media and virtual interactions

Specialists attribute many communications and affective impairments to the increasing use of social media and virtual interactions


Duraku & Hoxha, (2020)

COVID-19 has disrupted the routine of these children, hindered their free movement, made them feel that they are not doing anything valuable, and caused them a series of negative feelings and outcomes, such as: sleep disorder, boredom loneliness, sadness, anger, feelings of helplessness, grief, lack of motivation, and laziness

This chapter presents the findings of a study that aimed to investigate the impact of COVID-19 and school closures on gifted students’ well-being


Chen et al., (2021)

findings provide insight into ways to support vulnerable older adults in pandemic circumstances.

qualitative analysis of online discussion data generated by older adults with pre-frailty and frailty while subject to a state stay-at-home order.


Hodder et al., (2020)

findings provide insight into ways to support vulnerable older adults in pandemic circumstances.

findings provide insight into ways to support vulnerable older adults in pandemic circumstances.



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Antonello, V. S., Panzenhagen, A. C., Balanzá-Martínez, V., & Shansis, F. M. (2020). Virtual meetings and social isolation in COVID-19 times: transposable barriers. Trends in psychiatry and psychotherapy, 42, 221-222.

Lack of Support and Companionship for Older People During Covid-19 Pandemic

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Beaunoyer, E., Dupéré, S., & Guitton, M. J. (2020). COVID-19 and digital inequalities: Reciprocal impacts and mitigation strategies. Computers in human behavior, 111, 106424.

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Galea, S., Merchant, R. M., & Lurie, N. (2020). The mental health consequences of COVID-19 and physical distancing: the need for prevention and early intervention. JAMA internal medicine, 180(6), 817-818.

Gorenko, J. A., Moran, C., Flynn, M., Dobson, K., & Konnert, C. (2021). Social isolation and psychological distress among older adults related to COVID-19: a narrative review of remotely-delivered interventions and recommendations. Journal of Applied Gerontology, 40(1), 3-13.

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