The recent coronavirus outbreak has had extensive effects beyond the health sector. Many other social issues have arisen as a result of the pandemic, challenging the communities and governments involved.
Learning about these problems is the first step to finding solutions. As citizens, let’s take a look at what these concerns are:
Psychology And Mental Health
Aside from physical health, many people also had worries regarding their mental wellbeing—we all experienced anxiety over safety, isolation, and uncertainty.
The main concern on everyone’s mind was over their protection. During the first months of the pandemic, everyone did not have that much information about the virus. Knowing how to keep oneself safe was thus a challenge.
There was also worry over whether or not the virus could spread through animals. People were concerned about whether or not they could catch the disease through livestock or pets.
Another issue is how isolation and quarantines have affected people’s mental health. Being physically apart has cut some individuals off from their support systems. Although there are other means of communicating now, messages and calls may not be as effective as physical togetherness. Also, some may not have the capacity to reach out to others through phones or the Internet.
There’s also the added stress of dealing with the “new normal.” “This pandemic has thrown us into an existential crisis, it has put much of what we have believed into question,” says Heidi Horsley, PsyD. Many are still adjusting to staying at home and not being able to see their loved ones. Collectively, society is undergoing some degree of trauma from all these changes.
Consequently, experts worry about the potential rise in suicide rates. As individuals face challenges such as isolation, unemployment, and domestic abuse, they’re more likely to turn to extremes. People are also less likely to ask for help, believing that hotlines and helplines may be busy with other callers.
COVID-19 has been deadly, with the elderly being one of the most vulnerable groups in society. Not only do they face a health crisis, but they also face difficulty accessing necessities. It’s more difficult for older citizens to purchase food, medicine, and other essentials.
Thus, communities recognized that they require special attention and care during the pandemic to avoid putting them at risk. Nursing homes have temporarily stopped accepting visitors to avoid contact with the outside. Volunteer groups and individuals have also taken to purchasing essential goods for the elderly in their community.
With the concern for public safety, many governments have chosen to close down schools in all levels temporarily. This decision to suspend classes is to avoid large gatherings and face-to-face contact leading to the spread of the virus.
However, issues arise as people wonder when schools will reopen. The question is, how will learning continue? Several countries have considered holding online classes and distance learning.
While several schools have already had this arrangement before, with people earning degrees online, it’s challenging for lower grade levels. Younger learners require more supervision than those college or university students. Parents may not always be available or capable of helping them learn their classwork.
Moreover, online learning may not be accessible to other individuals. It can be challenging, especially for those in lower-income areas. Not everyone has personal computers or laptops, phones, internet connection, or even electricity. It has put further strain on the poor’s access to education.
Amidst the health crisis, another silent pandemic takes place at home. Although the quarantine keeps us safe from contracting the virus outside, it creates a dangerous domestic abuse scenario.
India is one country that has seen a spike in distress calls during these months of the pandemic. And this is not even accounting for unreported cases. Victims would be less likely to report abuse while in isolation. They might not call for help when the abuser rarely leaves the house.
The most significant impact the virus has on this aspect is the cancellation of religious gatherings. Governments have banned or imposed limitations on large groups of people from congregating in one place. Mosques, churches, synagogues, and temples and have now moved their worship meetings online via live streams.
However, most members of religious groups may continue to practice their religion despite not being able to do so together. The social consequences of the virus on religion may thus not be as disruptive as other aspects.
The coronavirus outbreak is more than a health pandemic. It also has corresponding effects on society. All countries now face additional challenges when regarding mental health, elderly care, education, domestic violence, and religion. These are aspects that governments and communities now have to work together to address.