If someone a few months ago had said that the whole world would come to a standstill and we would all be forced to practice social distancing, no one would believe it. No one would have fathomed the damage that a virus would end up causing in the coming months. The effect that the virus has had on humankind psychologically, economically and socially is probably unprecedented.
Economically, it is expected that the world’s GDP could shrink by as much as 8%. Millions of people have already lost their jobs and are finding it difficult to make ends meet. The demand for most businesses has gone down as people are only spending money on essential commodities. Consumer businesses have suffered a lot due to the lockdown with their earnings practically being nil during this period. Hardly anyone can be seen in malls, hotels and restaurants. Most employees in companies have had to take a cut in their salaries and wages. The stock markets in India posted some of its worst losses in history during the lockdown period with SENSEX falling by 4000 points and NIFTY falling by 1150 points in 1 day.
The poor had to and are enduring the worst during this period. Millions of migrant workers have lost their jobs and with no means of transport available to take them back home, they’ve had to walk hundreds of kilometres with their families to their respective villages and towns. Listening to such stories of hardships certainly breaks one’s heart! Added to that, governments of some states have revised labour laws to attract investment to revive the economy further adding to migrant labourers’ miseries.
Students have had to study through online means and those who do not have access to smartphones and the internet have lagged in their studies without any fault of theirs. They also have had to go through the stress of uncertainties of when and how their exams will be conducted with the virus showing no signs of stopping any time soon. On the positive side, many teachers have become tech-savvy and many ways have been devised to teach in effective ways.
Psychologically, the lockdown caused by the virus has affected each and everyone to at least some extent. Social distancing has induced loneliness in many and has led to more serious problems like depression and suicide. People, in general, seem to have become more frustrated and anxious because of their inability to meet friends and to visit public places with freedom. This has counter-actively led people to become socially-disobedient and irresponsible. Many have become obsessive and compulsive about sterilization and checking their body temperature. Again, the poor have suffered the most in this aspect because of financial uncertainties.
Not only humans but animals have also had to go through a lot of anguish. Humans have neglected their pets in the fear that they might spread the virus. Thousands of pets have no place to go due to this reason.
Hundreds of thousands of people have died already due to this virus not taking into account the deaths that went unreported. The virus has pointed out major loopholes in our healthcare systems. They have been unable to deal with the rising cases properly. As a result, people have died because they couldn’t get access to proper health facilities.
There have been some silver linings though. The air and noise pollution levels have come down quite significantly. Stars have once again become visible in the night sky. People have started interacting with their families more due to ample time that is available in their hands and thus developing stronger bonds. People have started trying new things like cooking and writing. It has made us appreciate our freedom more and has underlined the importance of our friends and families in our lives.
Let’s hope that the pandemic ends soon and we can all return to our normal lives once again!