Additional Aftermath of This Global Health Pandemic We May Not Have Anticipated.
Some are positive, while others are negative. Some are likely, and others uncertain.
A steep rise in domestic abuse. Home is not the safest place for many people, as horrible as this is. Without the opportunity of leaving and going to work for the day, or, their partner leaving and going to work during certain hours, this will mean an almost certain sharp increase in domestic violence. Not only are we living in a stressful, uncertain phase right now, which amps up stress and anxiety levels (making things more highly charged and likelier for strong emotional reactions) but this will result in family members being forced to spend a lot more time in each other’s company. Thus, for certain people, this is going to be a dangerous and very bad thing.
An increase in child abuse. Same with regards to children, as the above point. If a child is living with their abuser, and in not being able to head off to school for the day? This means being around their abuser potentially all the time. Add to the scenario ratcheted up degrees of stress and anxiety in the household, given the current worldwide situation, and you can almost guarantee a rise in child abuse.
There is going to be an influx of plastic dumped out and into the environment. With the clearing our grocery shelves of all things plastic (bottled water, bottled juices, etc) and, since not everyone makes the efforts to recycle, it is almost certain that the piece of plastic floating in the ocean that is roughly the size of Texas is only going to be added to during this time. This will nudge climate change into even more dangerous territory than it already is.
People who are on the fringe of society, those who do not have much money, and certain minority groups, they are going to be edged out even further. This pandemic will quickly separate the people who are well off financially from those who are not. The ones who are not well off are going to struggle and in significant ways. And still, some people who are middle class otherwise will still plummet into poverty, depending on loss of job or other situation which arises from Coronavirus as the catalyst. This may result in more…anger, incivility, anxiety, or lawlessness.
The treasuring of and more thoughtful attendance to your own health. Nothing like a global health crisis to bring attention to your health, and just how important it is. In watching thousands of people dying of an illness about which we do not know much right now, and in observing thousands more (young and old) getting sick, this should scare you a little, and, should make you very concerned with taking as the careful care of your health as possible. So as not to get sick yourself.
However, letting fear consume your mind only makes you more likely to get sick. Why? Because anxiety, worry, and fear weaken instead of strengthens your immune system. Thus, while being careful is a good approach, getting super scared is not going to be helpful to you or maintaining your health. It only makes more susceptible to getting ill. So, right now is a crucial moment of learning to control your mind and thoughts. “The highest nobility lies in taming your own mind”- Atisha.
(You can read more on this topic here: Two Contributors to Potentially Getting Coronavirus That You Likely Haven’t Thought Of).
America is a highly individualistic culture (but it doesn’t have to be). This has been written about, time and time again. In a few ways, this can be a great thing. Infusing people with initiative, a sense of independence, and inner resourcefulness, in assuming they can only rely on themselves. However, it has also been written about and at great length, that collectivist cultures tend to be happier as a whole and function better in many ways.
People from collectivist cultures do things with the well-being of their fellow citizens in mind. They actually care about the feelings and needs of other people in their society. There is a sense of consideration and thought that pervades their actions. That often, sadly, is not the case here in the U.S. You can glimpse our self-centeredness in sayings like “Live Your Best Life” and “You Do You.”
We are all about ourselves. What is best for us (without much care if that is good for others). We care about what we want at the moment. What we desire. And these self-oriented thoughts tend to guide our actions.
This is a problem in the climate of Coronavirus. If people are acting for themselves and not others, this is going to result in a lot more strife for others (when it might be otherwise avoided). Coronavirus, and nipping this in the bud, will require operating with the care and thought of others in mind. You are young, healthy, and not sick? Guess what? You could still be a carrier and not know it. In fact, chances are good that you are. You could be making other people sick and further contributing to spreading the disease further and faster.
Sorry, but “you do you” doesn’t work right now. We need to shift from this mindset to one more along the lines of “what can I do to both best protect myself, my loved ones, and my fellow neighbors? How can I behave in a way that has everyone’s backs, and is not just about me and what I want?”
Coronavirus is exposing the flaws in our current healthcare system at large. This is a monumental opportunity to pay heed to those flaws and make significant changes. Pandemics have happened before in human history. A devastating one is unfolding now. Another will surely take place again. Thus, we need to be better prepared next time and in numerous ways.
One major way of doing so? Overhaul our health care system, now. Make it one that is people and citizen-centered, as opposed to profit-centered (like it is currently). Profit centered institutions, as we have seen, collapse under the weight of a pandemic. What we really need right now? Human-centered health care for all.
Widespread unemployment, which is both happening and going to happen even more so, are showing us the dire need for better systems in place to help our fellow citizens. We need safety nets situated so that if and when something happens, like a tragedy or a global health pandemic, people are not left destitute in the snap of fingers. That is not how a healthy or morally good society functions. Leaving their people ever on the cusp, just one moment away from terror, poverty, and possibly even homelessness.
If businesses shut down, which is a good thing right now (in the sense of, helping to stop the spread of the virus), then we need to ensure the livelihood of these business owners and employees. Guarantee that whenever they do open again, their job is there waiting for them. Or, on the flip side, if someone gets sick from the virus, again, their job should be guaranteed until they are well again. And, with a degree of paid sick leave so they can still survive. The Government should have some kind of emergency fund in place, almost like a universal income, which they funnel to people in need during these times.
No one should be forced into hunger or homelessness during a health pandemic, especially in a rich country like America. That signifies a dysfunctional and cruel Government and society.
Greater empathy for others can be a direction we decide to move toward, as opposed to our current state, which is one of low levels of empathy, much entitlement, and narcissism. Now is the chance to step outside of yourself, which is not going to be easy since the U.S. is one of the most self-centered countries in the world.
It is the time to realize, other people are just like you, and, are of equal value as you are. We all have similar worries, fears, dreams, and longings. It is time to step outside of your own little bubble of “you” and to really consider and put yourself into the shoes of others and to care about and feel for those others.
Got enough toilet paper? No need to hoard more. Leave it for someone else.
Have elderly neighbors? Keep a wide berth when moving around them, so as to not endanger their health.
What can you do to make your partner’s life easier and more joyous right now?
Know someone who doesn’t have much money and may not have enough food? Bring them a bag and leave it on their doorstep with a little note affixed.
Ask yourself, how might you be a good citizen to your neighborhood?
How can you reach out to your friends right now and let them know you are there, even if not able to see them in person at the moment?
How can you be kind and patient toward others? Thoughtful and generous? How can you extend yourself a bit right now, for your fellow citizens?
The more we strive to create a culture (right now, and onward) of giving and care, the much easier we stand to navigate through this crisis, and create a much more hospitable society following.
Dolphins in the Venice canals, I’m sure you’ve all read about this by now. How cool is that? With economic “growth” at a standstill, nature can actually breathe and flourish, and it is. With people crawling the earth temporarily grinding to a halt (for the most part), animals and nature can claim their rightful place within it, instead of being pushed to the sidelines and even out altogether like they usually are.
If we chose to, we could use this opportunity to realize this: we are no better, stronger, or immortal as compared with other animals. Yes, we are animals too. Thus, we belong alongside (not above) elephants, bears, birds, dogs, cats, tigers, bats, dolphins, you get the idea. We are not better or of greater value than them. We all have the same degree of value and rightful place to live on this earth. We, humans, are also animals, with different capabilities, strengths, and weaknesses. We have not respected other animals as our equals for many years now. Now can be the time to start.
This rapid-fire spreading of the Coronavirus should serve to remind each of us how precarious and fleeting life really is. As well as, the fact that everything as we know it can turn on a dime. We need to have far better preparations in place going forward, just in case. A better healthcare system, improved social safety nets, etc. This whole scenario we are currently living should drive home and drill in the point, more than ever, that nothing is for certain.
On a more personal scale though, this should serve to remind each of us that you never truly know what can or is going to happen in your life or in this world. And thus, it should remind you of such thoughts as these:
How can I live in such a way that I will look back on, and be happy with the kind of person I was?
Did I love with my whole heart? Not just my romantic partner, but my other loved ones, close friends, and pets too? And did I make sure they knew it?
Did I choose well? The people I loved and put my time and effort into? The work I did? My personal pursuits and projects? My close friends? The books I read and the information I took in? The things I put into my body?
Was I generous and thoughtful? Or was I selfish or unkind?
Did I stretch myself for others?
What things do I do to enrich and better the lives of others?
Did I give it my all?
Did I adventure and revel in this world and in life while able?
What is most important to me and am I living in accordance with this?
How do I want to be remembered?
What things must I still do, within my wild and short life?