The long term implications of COVID: When it leaves, what remains?

Mafazah Sharafuddin
June 1, 2021

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The pandemic has swept the world in a panic. It has come with the pervading sense of fear and loss, and completely unexpectedly to the common man. Although environmentalists have been predicting a rise in pandemics as a consequence of the same things that caused climate change, to the layman, it arrived out of the blue. 

The pandemic has taken away several things that make us social beings. Physical touch, gatherings, dining together etc. have all gone from being something one does for fun to something that could be potentially fatal.

It does not come as a shock that people all of the globe are suffering during the pandemic. While they are unsure of how much longer this will go on, the spread of the vaccines make people hopeful that it will soon come to an end. 

When the pandemic ends, what will it leave behind?

The anxiety of being

With fatal illness and massive death-tolls, anxiety comes as an almost inevitable companion. The compulsive act of using hand sanitizer after touching anything in public is slowly becoming second nature. 

A US study comparing the number of adults experiencing symptoms of an anxiety or depressive disorder saw the number raise from 11% in January 2019 to 41.1% in January 2021. It also showed an increase in suicidal ideation and substance use. 

Another unfortunate consequence of the pandemic is a possible rise in agoraphobia. Agoraphobia is a specific anxiety disorder. It is defined by a fear of being in part of a public environment or activity from which leaving or escaping is perceived to be difficult. Due to the frequent and persistent lockdowns and the association of danger with being in public spaces, the slip towards agoraphobia is understandable. 

An integral part of the human experience is physical touch. While some may be isolating with family, there are many people all over the world who are living along in the middle of the pandemic. The pandemic may also lead to an increase in ‘touch-starvation’ as the stress relieving hormone, oxytocin, is released through touch.

The prevalence of mental illness after a calamity is not a new phenomenon. The aftermath of war and natural disasters have left people suffering in its wake. This is, however, a calamity of global magnitude. Like the survivors of war, those who come out of this pandemic alive are going to carry it with them for the rest of their lives.

A state of grief 

Aptly dubbed the ‘grief pandemic’ by sociologist Holly Prigerson, the Coronavirus pandemic has taken away many loved ones. Children are left orphaned and parents mourn their children. The elderly are kept under keen watch by their loved ones in fear that they, too, will be taken away. 

Grief and mourning have become an everyday thing since the pandemic showed its full strength. With entire families being wiped out, and crematoriums unable to process the bodies at the rate at which they arrive, we as a society are experiencing death in high definition. 

The processing of is complex. It is made more complex by the situation we are in. the constant anxiety and fear of safety are severely detrimental to the processing of grief. There is no room to process grief in a situation where death is continuous. As of now, we are in a persistent state of grief.

Money matters 

The economic implications of the pandemic have been spoken about often at a global scale. Small businesses have shut down. Daily wage laborers struggle to find jobs with the lockdowns in place. Several people who, before 2020, believed they were secure in their jobs, have been unexpectedly dismissed. 

Survival in the middle of a pandemic, even without getting infected, with no incoming money is precarious. People are dependent of the goodwill of social workers and people who give out food, donations, etc. People are being rendered homeless because they are unable to pay rent. The inability to properly socially distance or isolate, however, increases the risk of infection.

If survival for the poor without getting infected is precarious, surviving COVID is a miracle. They have to combat steep prices for treatment, trouble with transportation, being unable to afford medication and several other issues. 

Not only is getting infected and showing symptoms a death sentence for so many, it comes with the fear that it will bankrupt their family. 

The state the economy is in right now has no quick fixes. There are small scale industries that have suffered in a way they may not recover from. An alarming percentage of medium and small enterprises have faced permanent closure. The recovery of the economy is going to a long, arduous process. 

On a positive note

While the pandemic has been a cause of suffering for people everywhere, the long term social implications of it are not all bad. 

For environmentalists, the pandemic has been proof that there can be no real solution to climate change until bog corporations stop contributing to it. With the common people staying at home most of the time, hugely reducing the amount of fuel used by the public, there has been no huge change in the state of the world. 

While it may always be the socially responsible option to continue to use environmentally friendly options, the onus truly does fall on large corporations to limit their damage before it is unsalvageable. 

It addition to this, curb-side pickups, online learning, work from home etc. have shown that it is possible to do these actions remotely. This opens up a whole realm of possibilities for people with disabilities not only in employment and education, but day to day activities.

When accessibility has been made possible because there is no other way, employers and management of educational institutes can no longer give excuses for their lack of accessibility for disabled employees or students. 

The pandemic may leave behind a more accessible world. 

Comments

Ramesh Mishra
 - 
Wednesday, 2 Jun 2021

COVID-19, PANDEMIC
Has put the world behind at least 25 years but India, Pakistan, Bangla Desh, and Nepal 50 years. During the coming 50 years, India would face massive internal conflicts dividing the Provinces. India lacks skilled leaders.

Ramesh Mishra
Victoria BC CANADA

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News Network
September 10,2021

Ghaziabad, Sept 10: Journalist Rana Ayyub has been booked by the Ghaziabad police on charges of money laundering and misappropriating donations meant for Covid patients and flood victims in some eastern states.

Other charges that journalist Ayyub faces are the criminal breach of trust and cheating by using computer resources under the Information Technology Act.

The FIR was lodged earlier this week on Tuesday on the complaint of Vikas Pandey, founder of an NGO “Hindu IT Cell.”

The police will take further legal action against the journalist only after investigating the case and finding evidence against her, city Superintendent of Police Gyanendra Singh said.

Ayyub’s name also figures in a recent case of circulation of a video in which a 72-year-old Bulandshahr resident had accused four men of beating him up and chopping his beard to force him to chant Jai Shri Ram.

The Ghaziabad police had, however, later found that the communal allegations made by the elderly Muslim man were false and he had made them on the instigation of a Samajwadi Party worker.

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IKKU
 - 
Sunday, 12 Sep 2021

WHAT ABOUT OTHER TOP BRASS FROM BJP WHO HAD NEVER GIVEN SINGLE RS. STATEMENT OF THE FUNDS COLLECTED FOR COVID SINCE BEGINNING... WHAT POLICE DONT DARE TO FILE CASE ON THEM......

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News Network
September 6,2021

Kabul, Sept 6: The Taliban has taken complete control of Panjshir province, the last area in Afghanistan held by rebel forces, says the group’s spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid.

Pictures on social media on Monday showed Taliban members standing in front of the gate of the Panjshir provincial governor’s compound.

There was no immediate word from Ahmad Massoud, the leader of the opposition group resisting Taliban forces.

Earlier on Monday, the last anti-Taliban forces in Afghanistan acknowledged suffering considerable battlefield losses and called for a ceasefire, as a top United States diplomat flew to Qatar to try and handle the chaotic aftermath of the US withdrawal.

The National Resistance Front (NRF) proposed in a statement “that the Taliban stop its military operations in Panjshir … and withdraw its forces”.

“In return, we will direct our forces to refrain from military action,” said the statement, according to a report by the AFP news agency.

The NRF includes local fighters loyal to Massoud, the son of the famous anti-Soviet and anti-Taliban commander Ahmad Shah Massoud, as well as remnants of the Afghan military that retreated to the Panjshir Valley.

The group said separately in a tweet on Sunday that spokesman Fahim Dashty, a well-known Afghan journalist, and General Abdul Wudod Zara had been killed in the latest fighting.

The NRF has promised to fight the Taliban but also said it was willing to negotiate with the group. But initial contact did not lead to a breakthrough.

The Panjshir Valley is famed for being the site of resistance to Soviet forces in the 1980s and the Taliban in the late 1990s, but observers have said the NRF is struggling.

Bill Roggio, the managing editor of the US-based Long War Journal, on Sunday said while there was still a “fog of war”, with unconfirmed reports the Taliban had captured multiple districts, “it looks bad”.

Former Vice President Amrullah Saleh, who is holed out in Panjshir alongside Ahmad Massoud, has warned of a humanitarian crisis, with thousands “displaced by the Taliban onslaught”.

The Taliban is yet to finalise their new government after rolling into Kabul three weeks ago.

Afghanistan’s new rulers have pledged to be more “inclusive” than during their first stint in power, which also came after years of conflict, first the Soviet invasion of 1979, and then a bloody civil war.

They have promised a government that represents Afghanistan’s complex ethnic makeup.

Women’s freedoms in Afghanistan were sharply curtailed under the Taliban’s 1996-2001 rule.

This time, women will be allowed to attend university as long as classes are segregated by sex or at least divided by a curtain, the Taliban’s education authority said in a lengthy document issued on Sunday.

But female students must also wear an long robe and face veil, as opposed to the even more conservative burqa mandatory under the previous Taliban rule.

As the Taliban comes to grips with their transition from armed uprising to government, it is facing a host of challenges, including humanitarian needs for which international assistance is critical.

UN humanitarian chief Martin Griffiths has arrived in Kabul for several days of meetings with the Taliban leadership, which has promised to help.

“The authorities pledged that the safety and security of humanitarian staff, and humanitarian access to people in need, will be guaranteed and that humanitarian workers – men and women – will be guaranteed freedom of movement,” a statement from UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.

The Taliban spokesman tweeted that the group’s delegation assured the UN of cooperation.

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News Network
September 15,2021

New Delhi, Sept 15: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday attacked the BJP and RSS, alleging that they were "fake Hindus" who use religion for their benefit.

Addressing the foundation day of the All India Mahila Congress here, Gandhi said that the ideology of the Congress was completely opposite of the BJP and RSS and only one of the two ideologies can rule the country.

Asserting that Goddess Lakshmi stands for the power that helps one attain one's goals and Goddess Durga stands for the power that protects, the former Congress chief said while his party had strengthened these powers when in government, the ruling BJP dispensation has diminished these powers.

"Ye kis prakar ke Hindu hain. Ye jhoote Hindu hain. Ye Hindu dharm ka prayog karte hain, ye dharm ki dalali karte hain, magar ye Hindu nahin hain (What kind of Hindus are they? They are fake Hindus. They use Hindu religion, they are brokers of religion, but they are not Hindus," Gandhi said, attacking the BJP and RSS. 

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