Current Results of the Coronavirus
Having fun staying at home? You are not alone. Get ready to meet your seven billion neighbors who are struggling with the same predicament across the globe. COVID-19 has spread like wildfire affecting hundreds of millions of people and resulting in the deaths of thousands.
Welcome to the new normal, where we quarantine in our homes, go out only when it’s essential, wear gloves and masks, binge Netflix and talk to doctors through telehealth.
This is no doubt affecting our behavior and lifestyle, but what is it doing to us psychologically? And what will the future hold? Will handshakes be taboo? What about going to bars and restaurants? How long do we expect governments to enforce this lockdown? Just these few questions can cause anxiety, but the more pertinent issues that can really bring up our stress levels are catching the infections and the subsequent fear of dying.
As the disease continues to affect our everyday lifestyles, governments, businesses, and individuals have been forced to take some drastic measures to prevent the spread of this disease. Countries around the world have shut down schools, canceled events, and closed factories, leaving most cities void of human activity.
Telecommunication has become part of this behavior. Businesses, schools, medical facilities, and even religious institutions are all participating in this effort to keep us safe, but how is it affecting our psyche, if at all?
While millions are now working from home, others have lost their jobs and there are many who have been forced to stay at home while they put their professional commitments on hold until the situation improves. Such are the people who are sustaining through the tough times by withdrawing from their savings, even from their retirement funds.
So as we continue to experience this new behavior, let’s not forget that preventive measures to control the spread of the virus will definitely help in mitigating this disease. But these measures come at a cost and part of the cost is psychological. No one exactly knows how future events will turn but for now, as people practice social distancing and avoid human interaction, the measures will continue to have a huge psychological impact.
Psychological Effects of Preventive Measures
As more and more people are self-quarantined, they have curtailed their in-person interactions. Let’s take a look at how these measures are affecting different segments of the population.
In some parts of the world, schools have closed down for as long as three months. Colleges have moved to telecommuting, leaving some students nervous about how to take examinations.
While at home, children are forced to stay indoors, away from their friends, and told to avoid touching their faces and to keep washing hands. They hear their parents discussing the news about deaths and the number of infected people. Loved ones getting infected, parents worrying about food and their financial issues, and how the situation is affecting their professional lives can all take a toll on the emotional well-being of children.
It is difficult for them to see a loved one infected which can be a cause of distress. Also, it is not easy for kids to see their parents struggling through a difficult situation. With schools and parks closed (although some are beginning to open up), being at home and unable to go outside is another stressor, all yielding to psychological implications.
Parents must be aware of how this crisis affects their children and they can take preventative actions. Here are a few of what parents can do to help their kids maintain a normal life during this pandemic:
- Keep them busy
- School them at home. This can be done by creating a scheduled curriculum or by contacting the school to see if the school has a curriculum already prepared for their grade level.
- Find out if the school provides tele-education, which is a growing technology during this time.
- Set up a Zoom (or another teleconference app) that will connect them with their friends and your family.
- Play games with them or encourage them to play games amongst themselves. Preferably, games that induce educational objectives.
- Do you have a backyard or does your apartment building have an inner courtyard? Go out with them and get some sun while you’re doing it. Besides seeing a different location outside of the four walls of your home, they (and you) can get some good vitamin D – an important nutrient and one that helps you fight the virus should you go to a hospital.
- Keep them busy
It is important that parents stay strong. This and the items mentioned above are an excellent way to help maintain normality during these trying times.
Professionals in the Workplace
This (COVID-19) changes everything. A new paradigm has approached as close contact is now being discouraged, causing small businesses to close and resulting in more and more people working from home; that is, if they still have a job.
The lack of human interaction, the fear of getting infected, and being locked at home can take a toll on anyone’s mental health. This, along with the deadlines of work and the constant fear of losing the job adds to another major source of stress.
Many factories and organizations have been closed now, laying off hundreds and thousands of people. This means that there is a significant increase in unemployment. In the US alone, the number of individuals seeking unemployment benefits has reached 30 million people. The numbers are much higher in other parts of the world. As governments are trying to contain the virus, this increasing loss of jobs is posing an additional challenge.
Unemployment comes with its own set of psychological implications. The loss of jobs and financial concerns along with the fear and anxiety of the pandemic can take a toll on our mental health.
But there is a third group of workers who have put all their professional commitments on hold due to the pandemic. These are the people who are waiting for the situation to return to normal before they can go back to work. People associated with export businesses, airline industries, airport staff are some of the people whose professional life is on hold. While such people are at home and not working, the uncertainty and fear of loss of jobs or business value are huge.
Apart from children, another group that is affected is the elderly. According to statistics, the highest mortality rate due to COVID-19 is among people aged 60 and above. People aged 80 and above have a mortality rate as high as 14.8%. Also, people who have pre-existing medical conditions such as diabetes, asthma, hypertension, lung and cardiovascular diseases are more at risk of getting infected. All this is scary for anyone who is 65 or older.
Many seniors live on their own. The psychological implications of being away from their loved ones while being at risk of a disease that is fatal in certain conditions can be huge. This constant fear of getting infected further adds to the mental cost of the already struggling elderly.
Photo by Kate Trifo from Pexels
The COVID-19 virus has been a stress test for people and governments across the globe. The condition has affected every single person who lives on this planet regardless of age, race, or social stature. As we experience the pandemic, we can only hope that the crisis subsides before it takes a toll on the emotional and mental health of the people.
While there are some unavoidable costs of this crisis, on a positive note, the entire world has come together to support each other in these tough times. With changing weather and trials of preventive vaccines, there is hope for a COVID-19 free world. It is possible and the world is working on a cure. What we need to do now is maintain a positive attitude and stay optimistic throughout this pandemic.