The Global Impact of the Coronavirus

Coronavirus COVID-19

The coronavirus has drastically changed the entire world since it emerged last year, causing a variety of global and national disruptions.

The coronavirus became a pandemic because it was a completely novel virus, one which emerged suddenly and spread quickly, a virus that took health authorities completely by surprise.

Medical science did not have any knowledge or experience with it and did not know how to slow this highly contagious virus down. Consequently, health authorities resorted to the playbook used to handle the Spanish flu, a deadly influenza pandemic that started in 1918 and lasted until 1920  —  requesting the public to wear masks and practice social distancing.

While this new virus is still spreading at a rapid rate, still causing a rise in hospitalization and fatalities, and still causing a downturn in economies, upending families and communities, and disrupting all kinds of social institutions and organizations, its characteristics and effects are now better known and medical researchers have been able to develop several vaccines.

What’s different in 2021 is that there is now hope that the devastation the pandemic has caused will finally end because of the development of emergency use vaccines that have successfully passed clinical trials. The primary challenge facing governments around the world now is the logistics of distribution.

Now that we are hopefully looking at the light at the end of the tunnel, in addition to economic recovery, there are some social crises that will need to be addressed as this year unfolds as well.

  1. An Increase in Risk-Taking Behavior

According to a WHO survey, the coronavirus has had a disruptive effect  on mental health, with a variety of mood disorders exacerbated by the pandemic, including an increase in anxiety and depression. Other factors that contributed to mental health disorders were the economic desperation caused by many job losses following the collapse of businesses that relied on in-person traffic. In addition, the various lockdowns caused frustration and social isolation. While some acting-out behavior was obvious, such as people refusing to wear masks, others were more subtle, like social isolation exasperating substance abuse.

Some possible ways to continue to address these mental health issues include an increase in education on how to reduce contamination to cut down on risk-taking behavior, an increase in education about telehealth services so that people can still talk to counselors and therapist through cloud hosting VoIP solutions, and an increase in education about whether insurance can pay for substance abuse detoxification programs.

  1. The Disruption in Education

With over 11 million coronavirus cases reported in the Caribbean and Latin America, the education of about 137 million children has been put on hold, a situation that has caused an educational crisis. Many students have already missed a year of school, and it is possible that they may miss yet another full school year. Because these children are not acquiring fundamental literacy skills, such as reading, writing, and mathematics, they will take longer to graduate, a situation that will cause economic problems in the Caribbean because of a one- or two-year delay in educated people joining the workforce.

One initiative that governments are using with the help of UNICEF is distance learning, learning that is delivered through various mediums, such as the Internet, TV, and radio. Other measures are also under consideration, such as revising the curriculum, prioritizing the teaching of certain subjects over others.

  1. Collapsing Labor Markets

Different countries around the world have tried a variety of strategies to support households during the pandemic, ranging from companies continuing to pay their workers even when there was little to no work available, managing payroll with the help of government subsidies, to governments extending unemployment benefits, issuing stimulus checks for emergency relief and putting a moratorium on rent.

Since these are short-term measures, designed to mitigate the economic shock of the pandemic, governments and corporations and communities, will focus on improving job creation once the distribution of the vaccine makes it possible for businesses to resume.

In summary, the coronavirus created a variety of crises, such as a crisis in mental health, a crisis in education, and a crisis in employment. Along with the distribution of the new vaccines, governments, corporations, institutions, and communities will also work on implementing solutions to these various crises.



South Florida Caribbean News

The Team provides news and information for the Caribbean-American community in South Florida and beyond.

Related Articles

Back to top button