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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Americans are doubling down on their worst habits to cope with the mental and emotional stress of the coronavirus pandemic.

Why it matters: The pandemic will have a long-lasting impact on the health of the American people, in part due to the habits they'll pick up during the weeks and months they're forced to stay home.

Details: Substance abuse, a lack of physical stimulation and unhealthy diets are beginning to take a toll on Americans.

  • Alcohol sales were up 55% in the week ending March 21, according to Nielsen, which measures media as well as consumer markets. Spirits were up 75%, followed by wine up 66% and beer up 42%. Online alcohol sales were up 243%.
  • Weed sales are soaring in places across the country where buying marijuana is legal, although some businesses have been caught flat-footed by the demand.
  • Porn consumption is up, according to the website Pornhub. Traffic from the U.S. (Pornhub’s largest market) was up 6.4% on March 17.
  • People are eating more. With consumers relying mostly on nonperishable foods, like pasta and canned food, many are concerned about gaining weight — the "COVID-15" or the "quarantine 15."
  • And they're exercising less. According to data from 68,000 fitness trackers, Americans are moving less and sleeping more under quarantine, per CNBC. While many workouts have moved online, some are finding it difficult to get into a good workout routine at home or to find the time to do so while balancing work and child care duties.

Americans are streaming more television than ever before, and as a result, more people are binge-watching their favorite shows, meaning they're watching three or more episodes from a series at a time.

  • Gaming has also boomed. Twitch, Mixer, Caffeine and Discord, all new-age livestream gaming platforms, posted their best revenue-generating month in March, according to data from Apptopia.

The big picture: We already know that the coronavirus outbreak is starting to weigh on Americans’ mental and emotional health, according to the Axios-Ipsos Coronavirus Index poll.

  • That's not likely to get any better as Americans overindulge in their favorite vices while they wait out the pandemic.
  • In addition, increased fear and stress are causing Americans to act out and embrace their worst instincts. There's some evidence that domestic violence is skyrocketing since the outbreak of the virus, and experts worry that more is on the way, according to Axios' Ina Fried.
  • Firearms sales have surged over the past month, too. March was the second-busiest month ever for gun sales, per the New York Times, and Axios' Stef Kight reports that the FBI processed 3.7 million gun background checks in March, more than any previous month.

The bottom line: The coronavirus lockdown is unhealthy for Americans on many levels — but it is keeping us alive.

Go deeper: The coronavirus' toll on our mental and emotional health

Go deeper

Kendall Baker, author of Sports
3 hours ago - Sports

European soccer is at war

Liverpool celebrating its 2019 Champions League victory. Photo: Nigel Roddis/Getty Images

Europe's biggest soccer clubs have established The Super League, a new midweek tournament that would compete with — and threaten the very existence of — the Champions League.

Why it matters: This new league, set to start in 2023, "would bring about the most significant restructuring of elite European soccer since the 1950s, and could herald the largest transfer of wealth to a small set of teams in modern sports history," writes NYT's Tariq Panja.

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
4 hours ago - Economy & Business

2021's expected earnings blowout begins

JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon. Photo: Mark Kauzlarich/Bloomberg via Getty Images

First-quarter earnings so far have been very strong, outpacing even the rosy expectations from Wall Street and that's a trend that's expected to continue for all of 2021. S&P 500 companies are on pace for one of the best quarters of positive earnings surprises on record, according to FactSet.

Why it matters: The results show that not only has the earnings recession ended for U.S. companies, but firms are performing better than expected and the economy may be justifying all the hype.

4 hours ago - Science

NASA's Mars helicopter takes flight as first aircraft piloted on another planet

Ingenuity on the surface of Mars, filmed by NASA's Perseverance rover. Photo: NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA successfully piloted the Ingenuity Mars helicopter for its first experimental flight on Monday, briefly hovering the aircraft as NASA's Perseverance rover collected data.

Why it matters: Ingenuity's short flight marks the first time a human-built aircraft has flown on a world other than Earth, opening the door to new means of exploring planets far from our own.