It all began with a cluster of viral pneumonia cases of unknown cause reported in the capital of the Hubei Province of China, the city of Wuhan. Most of the people who reported the flu-like symptoms had some connection with the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market. This was in December of 2019. On March 11, 2020, merely three months later, the novel coronavirus had gripped the world in its throes of destruction, causing the World Health Organization (WHO) to declare it a global pandemic. As of this writing, more than 10 million cases have been reported worldwide and the death toll is more than half a million.
The entire world has united to battle this devastating episode in the history of mankind, and its impact on our daily lives has been in massive proportions. Various countries have declared lockdowns, and life has lost all its normalcy. The global economy has been affected worst ever since the Great Depression of 1929. While scientists are putting their noses to the grindstone to develop a vaccine for the coronavirus, and healthcare workers are risking their lives to cure the affected, an important question that arises is will life go back to normal once we overcome this fatal pandemic?
What we all are experiencing right now is a phenomenon, which will forever be recorded within the pages of all history books. Its impact on our way of living is bound to be humongous. People will, of course, be very vigilant about their health, and there will be a surge in the standards of hygiene that have to be observed in social settings. Our lifestyle will be adapted to constantly lookout for pathogens that have the potential of causing us harm. All aspects of human existence will be altered because of the mysophobia the pandemic has instilled within all of us. At the same time, the colossal improvement in environmental conditions due to the lockdown will have proven to us that recovery of the environment is, in fact, a very achievable goal, provided that we do put in a substantial amount of effort. The economy will gradually recover and we would have shifted to a more stringent way of living so far as escaping any illness is concerned.
However, an important impact of this pandemic that has been quite overlooked is “survivors’ guilt”. It is the guilt that consumes a person for surviving a devastating event, which someone around them did not. The psychological impact on the minds of all of us who survive this pandemic will be tremendous considering the amount of death and sorrow we are experiencing around us. Especially among the people who have been afflicted by the virus and were lucky enough to survive it, the guilt of seeing themselves recover, while many around them do not, would be like a boiling acid in the pit of their stomach that eats away their insides. Humans are social creatures who form close bonds with each other, and it is natural to feel accountable for the death of a near and dear one. What must be focused on in the near future is to provide the much needed emotional support that the masses will need in order to overcome the guilt and self-loathing that accompanies survival.
Another important psychological effect of this pandemic is in terms of the isolation that we all are facing due to the lockdown imposed in certain countries for the safety of their citizens. While a little bit of solitude can go a long way to refresh one’s mind, prolonged isolation can have devastating effects on the mental health of humans. Seclusion and lack of social interactions affect an integral part of our lives since socializing provides a positive stimulus for one’s development. Depression and anxiety are common mental health issues, which are on the rise due to the pandemic. Treatment of the people who are depressed is essential for the recovery of the economy and society as a whole since illness associated with depression has a very high chance of hampering one’s productivity.
While technology has come to aid during such tough times to provide us with means to connect with our loved ones, the necessity of face-to-face contact is now being realized as we are forced to focus on a screen in order to connect with family and friends. An important consequence of this situation would definitely be a fall in one’s dependence on technology to establish channels of communication as people begin to appreciate the intimacy of real-life interaction.
The Covid-19 pandemic would leave us all with a lasting impression of an extraordinary situation that most of us had never even imagined. However, the most frightening part about the future is that we can expect more pandemics of such kind as our planet crumbles under the pressure of supporting the most intelligent species ever walked on it. Research shows that the rising temperatures can cause thousands of years old permafrost to melt and unleash the horrors of deadly pathogens that have long remained dormant within icy folds. Hence, we must brace ourselves for a tough future while remaining optimistic about finding joy in the topsy-turvy state that the world has been reduced to.
-Contributed by Sambhavi Mishra (One of the prize winners of Covid-19 Article Writing Competition in the 13-17 years age group)
Picture Credits: techcrunch.com / Rost-9D / Getty Images