The Covid-19 Pandemic Continues to Affect Many Aspects of Life
The tragedy of the disease caused by the coronavirus is bad enough, but it isn’t the only way the virus is affecting Americans. Beyond the illness, the pandemic has affected how we go out, where we go, what we do, and who we do it with.
The COVID Culture Shift
The highly contagious nature of the virus combined with so much being unknown about it has made the effect different from any of the seasonal flu viruses, or even other coronavirus diseases. COVID-19 affects people in different—and unpredictable—ways. Originally, it was thought that only the elderly and those with compromised immune systems would become seriously ill or die from it, but before long, there were a number of anomalous cases.
These included children, who originally appeared immune from serious effects. Otherwise healthy people became ill and died, whereas some of the elderly recovered. The changing body of knowledge about contagion and inconsistent outcomes of the disease have made it impossible to come up with a sustainable method for prevention.
For a time, wearing masks to minimize spread of the disease even became a political issue, with many people believing the government didn’t have the right to control them by requiring masks be worn. The subject was so polarizing that real-life friendships were lost over social media posts on the topic.
When masks weren’t required, the number of reported cases rose, so now 35 states require masks when in public, and many cities and counties require them where they aren’t mandatory state-wide.
We’re Still Staying Home More
Even those who are skeptical about the seriousness or contagion of the disease are staying home more because of the number of facilities that are closed and gatherings being frowned upon. Anyone who has had a close call or exposure scare understands how disruptive they can be, so is likely to avoid large gatherings.
Finding out that you have just gone out with friends immediately before one of them tested positive for the virus can result in your needing to quarantine for 14 days. That’s a pain, but having to tell everyone one that you have been with in the past few days that you could have exposed them is not only time consuming, but it makes you feel rather guilty. So those who have been down that road tend to avoid the potential exposure of a large gathering.
Some Businesses Are Still Closed
After the initial shutdown of all but “essential” businesses, most reopened, but business isn’t necessarily back to normal. There are still a lot of people who lost jobs due, in one way or another, to COVID-19 and are still not working. Lower income and uncertainty about the future make people less comfortable spending money, so business income drops accordingly.
In some areas, regulatory agencies have shut down bars completely, while other businesses are allowed to be open, but with lower capacity in order to maintain social distancing. Some small businesses are staying closed to avoid potentially exposing staff to the virus or because the lower number of people out shopping has made it not cost effective to be open.
Delayed Medical Care May Result in Untreated Conditions Becoming More Serious
The initial wave of the disease overwhelmed hospitals, and medical professionals rushed to make changes to accommodate those who fell ill. While there are processes and procedures in place now for dealing with COVID-19, patients are putting off non-emergency care in many cases.
Most medical issues are easier to address when they are found early, and long-term or permanent damage is more easily avoidable. Fear of contracting COVID at the doctor’s office or on transportation to get there is resulting in preventive care being postponed, which may lead to worsening health before seeking medical health.
The effects of the coronavirus continue to reverberate through our culture as we continue to adapt to a “new normal.” While we don’t know exactly how it will look when the dust finally settles, we do know that Americans are resilient, and as we continue to adapt, we will find more solutions to problems that will be beneficial in the future.
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