We are in the middle of a great threat because of SARS-COV-2, and everything around us changing in a great speed and a mayhem is being created around us. We are certainly not helpless but yet somehow distant from everyone around us. At present, keeping a minimum distance and being isolated for some period is a way of containing the virus and dealing with repercussions and also essential. The quarantine has given both advantages and disadvantages to all of us and in this article the researcher has tried to take a look in both of them and a keep a viewpoint on all of the current condition.
SARS-COV-2, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus-2, the disease that is currently a pandemic. This virus came into limelight on December 31, 2019, when China informed the World Health Organisation about a cluster of cases of pneumonia with an unidentified cause in Wuhan City, Hubei province. Later, the disease began to spread in more provinces of China and then in the rest of the world with a total number of cases 2 million around the world with the recovery rate of around 24.40%. About 20% of the global population is under lockdown due to the pandemic. As a result, everything around has come to a standstill as we all have been asked to stay at home and socially isolated amid of this havoc. Is this disease really a villain or an awakening for all of us to look around us as to what we consume and miss out on?
This pandemic is going to leave the biggest psychological impact on all of us for a very long time. A short period of lockdown can increase the symptoms of anxiety, depression, fear of loss, etc. Hoof (2020) states that it is likely to have epidemic burnouts and stress-related absenteeism in the latter half of 2020 as the effect of lockdown on 2.6 billion people around. A high increase in developing symptoms of mental stress, depression, loneliness, aggression etc. can be seen during the lockdown or quarantine periods due to extreme social isolation and this will have an impact over an individual’s way of thinking and his/her personality going forth. Most of these symptoms have already been reported in China as per early researches related to the lockdown. The sudden change is going to influence the functioning of our society dramatically. Reddy (2020), highlights how the lockdown has affected the nation. Counselling groups are going to be in high demand during the period of lockdown and it would be essential to provide with mental health services only if the government is supportive enough to help look towards promoting such services. Providing mental services for people who suffer from mental disorders are not just going to be enough but to extend support to those who are under isolation and away from families is also essential to help them cope with the current situation. People with introvert characteristic might find easier to deal with the social distancing and isolation but extroverts are going to find a great more difficulty in adjusting within such a hostile environment. Incidents might happen that people will enjoy to be distant and work where no one will be interfering them or poking them unnecessarily. People with a strong spiritual life appears to rely on this as a daily and comforting routine (personal experience). Though living alone is not easy, humans being a social animal need to make regular efforts to interact through one or the other way with the help of social networks and support systems.
While the coronavirus has many cons it also has a few positives. By making all of us stay at home and relax with our loved ones it is helping us to develop deeper bonds with family. When many of us are all being caught up in the work, we often miss out on many of the things around us, having a good amount of family time, working on our hobbies/the things which we were once passionate about, learning new skills and improving ourselves. Most of the working population have been assigned with work from home facility in order to minimize the risk of being exposed to disease and maintain social distancing enabling them to work for business continuity. Jason (2020) mentions about the pros and cons of the pandemic in the business and education world. An internet-based workspace has presented with both advantages and disadvantages of its own with a huge amount of loss to both the communities. For a long time, educational sectors have hesitated from adopting online learning process and have disregarded it but this pandemic has made all of that go away and walk into the betterment of each one of us. As every coin has two sides, this activity of going online also has its own negatives such as it has incapacitated businesses providing personal services, retails, food chains etc. In the educational sector, the physical application of knowledge using lab practical and certain experiments has become very difficult to conduct. College closures have made a great impact on international students as they have nowhere to go.
Dean (2020) highlighted the struggle of social isolation and the reason behind the difficulty our brain has in following the “stay at home” order. The human brain has evolved for socialisation, and denying social contact is depriving it from its basic needs. Studies reveal that a socially isolated person for a minimum of 10 hours or so shows the brain activity similar to a starved person and it is not less than a torture. Even a very short period of social interaction can cause the brain to feel a low level of pleasure. The human brain is dependent on social interactions and cutting it off abruptly wreckful in the long run.
Does the virus know about gender differences? Probably yes, Henriques (2020) mentions about difference in impact of disease among men and women. Unusual differences have been observed so far in the death rates of men and women. According to researches, in the US, twice as many men have been dying from the virus as women, 69% of all coronavirus deaths across Western Europe have been male and similar pattern has been seen in China as well. There are no steady reason but few theories to infer these Philip Goulder, a professor of immunology at the University of Oxford states that the immune response throughout life to vaccines and infections is firm and active in females than males. Women have two X chromosomes while men have only one and when it comes to coronavirus, the protein by which viruses are identified and encoded on the X chromosome and as a result this protein is seen twice the dose on immune cells in females as compared to males. Thus, the immune response to in coronavirus is more in females. Clare Wenham, states that “all epidemics have gendered effects and the problem was that no one ever talked about it and the policymakers were not aware of it”. Wenham and her colleagues also found striking increase in maternal mortality due to lack of proper quality care before, during and after childbirth irrespective of the orders by WHO. Wenham also emphasized that health crisis like coronavirus intensifies inequalities on all kinds and gender is only one among them.
Many more pieces of research are on its way to understand the main cause and effects of COVID-19. If at all we have got to learn or understand anything from all of this is that human race is being affected in a great count along with that each of our mental strength is being tested as to how we deal with the social distancing, isolation, work from home etc. Every coin has two sides and in the same way, we are seeing the advantages of lockdown wherein we are being able to give time to our family, passion and rethink on our routine habits and for the disadvantages, all we can focus on is the isolation and deaths being occurred day by day despite being under quarantine. Though the government has taken measures to prevent ourselves from coming in contact with the virus and reduce the cases and casualties, not every individual is keen into following those rules. Huge impact on mental health can be seen and will be seen in the coming days once we are out among other people some of us will still choose to be alone or maybe not. Maintaining a distance and isolating ourselves is one thing and being forced to isolation is another, each has its value but the common viewpoint is keeping ourselves away from people who can harm us in some or the other way. Due to lockdown, we can see a drastic change in the atmosphere, more clarity and purity in the air around us due to less pollution. People with a habit of regular smoking and alcohol consumption might be able to minimize or move into zero consumption of any of these and instead of trying to adapt into a healthy living wherein meditations, exercise, workouts have become a part of their regime. If we look around us everything is changing but in a good way too. So, if we try to answer the question on the virus being a villain, it is to some extent but it has helped most of us to look around us and change our lives to a healthier one than being self-destructive. This might be nature’s way of saying “enough is enough”, so let us return our Mother Nature with a beautiful world that our ancestors took birth in. After lockdown, we must try to maintain a healthy habit of keeping a clear air that we breathe in, have a proper look on what we consume, maintain a healthy regime always and minimize all the unhealthy intake in our system. Let us be safe and keep cleanliness around us and take enough precautionary measures and these should not be taken only when we are under attack of something dangerous like this instead we should keep on working over it to minimize the threat of being attacked.
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Burnett, D. (2020). Lockdown: Why is social isolation so hard? Retrieved from https://www.sciencefocus.com/news/lockdown-why-is-social-isolation-so-hard/
on 11th April 2020
Henriques, M. (2020). Why COVID-19 is different for men and women. BBC Future, Retrieved from https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20200409-why-covid-19-is-different-for-men-and-women on 13th April, 2020.
Hoof, E., V. (2020). Lockdown is the world’s biggest psychological experiment and we will pay the price. World Economic Forum. Retrieved
from https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/04/this-is-the-psychological-side-of-the-covid-19-pandemic-that-were-ignoring/ on 09th April, 2020.
Reddy, S. (2020). The impact of the nationwide lockdown on mental health. Retrieved from https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2020-04-03-the-impact-of-the-nationwide-lockdown-on-mental-health/ on 3rd April, 2020.