The Societal Impacts of COVID-19
COVID-19 has had, and will continue to have a large impact on all people. Problems range from job loss, challenges for essential workers, isolation, educational dilemmas, economic downfall, and many other specific societal effects. By now, everyone is wondering when things will go back to normal, but in reality, the virus’ effects will linger on much longer than previously believed months ago.
It all began at the end of December in Wuhan, China. A handful of people started to experience respiratory related symptoms. Soon, people were dying due to COVID-19. Then, the virus was rapidly spreading from country to country. Lockdowns and quarantines were put in place. COVID-19 was spreading through communities and infecting more and more people. Before we knew it, schools were closing and social distancing was encouraged. Now, most of us are getting used to online learning and staying at home.
Society has been severely impacted by COVID-19.
According to the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs website, “The COVID-19 outbreak affects all segments of the population and is particularly detrimental to members of those social groups in the most vulnerable situations, continues to affect populations, including people living in poverty situations, older persons, persons with disabilities, youth, and indigenous peoples.”
This can easily lead to other societal problems.
Also stated by the UN website, “If not properly addressed through policy, the social crisis created by the COVID-19 pandemic may also increase inequality, exclusion, discrimination and global unemployment in the medium and long term.”
People currently living in poverty are impacted by COVID-19 enormously.
Stated by the Human Rights Watch website, “The COVID-19 outbreak in the United States has put a spotlight on economic inequalities and a fragile social safety net that leaves vulnerable communities to bear the economic brunt of the crisis… While the virus infects people regardless of wealth, the poor will be most affected due to long standing segregation by income and race, reduced economic mobility, and the high cost of medical care.”
Many people are now unemployed or working jobs with high exposure to possible infection. Furthermore, people who are dealing with poverty cannot afford healthcare and other important services.
Older people are one of the most vulnerable groups to the virus. Elders have greater health risks as it is, so they are automatically more susceptible to COVID-19, especially if they are burdened with other health problems. Another point is that in many cases, older people may not be able to support themselves successfully in isolation. Finally, people who are older commonly have to deal with age related discrimination and may have a more difficult time getting access to treatment.
People with disabilities are also negatively affected by the pandemic. Many have trouble gaining access to essential services, such as healthcare. Also, there is a stigma around people with disabilities that still exists today in society, that can cause individuals to be discriminated against. There is a greater risk of infection for people with disabilities, because many may have other problems with health and are immunocompromised. Lastly, people who struggle with disabilities can also have a harder time with recommended precautions, such as cleaning.
Younger people are impacted by the virus in many ways as well. Young people are expected to help those around them to the best of their abilities because they are essential to limiting the spread of the virus. Also, young people are struggling with unemployment more so than people of other ages. In addition, students are no longer attending school physically, and many are not able to learn virtually.
Native American communities are majorly affected by COVID-19, too. This is because they have higher amounts of disease and a much harder time accessing important services, like healthcare. Also, many Native American communities are not protected and are struggling financially.
According to Politico.com, COVID-19 will permanently alter society in many ways.
The article, “Coronavirus Will Change the World Permanently. Here’s How,” explains, “A global, novel virus that keeps us contained in our homes… is already reorienting our relationship to government, to the outside world, even to each other. Some changes these experts expect to see in the coming months or years might feel unfamiliar or unsettling…”
These changes could include less division between groups, new calls for reforms, an increased utilization of technology, and many others.
At the beginning of the pandemic, most people did not believe that COVID-19 would be much of a problem. Today, we can all agree that the impacts of the virus are serious. It is unknown when the virus will die down and life can return to normal. Until there is a vaccine, uncertainty will remain. For now, we all must follow the guidelines put in place in order to protect those more vulnerable in society.