The ongoing coronavirus pandemic is much more than a health problem. The outbreak has had significant impacts on society and economies. As we all take steps towards learning to live with the “new normal,” let’s take a look at how the disease has affected us and what problems we still have to address.
Limits On Education
Quarantine protocols have schools of all levels to suspend operations. UNESCO estimates that these closures affect about 1.2 billion learners from 182 different countries. This number amounts to 73.5% of enrolled students.
Many of the affected schools were not ready for alternative learning arrangements. Some have adopted online teaching to continue classes. However, this set-up creates a further problem for students without access to computers or the internet. Those who come from impoverished communities thus have an additional burden of trying to accomplish schoolwork while also fearing for their health and safety.
Loss Of Income And Rise Of Unemployment
Along with the closure of schools, several businesses have also temporarily closed down. For most countries, only those that deal with essential goods and services continue to operate. These establishments include restaurants and other food chains, pharmacies, clinics, and the like.
Because many businesses are closed, some have taken to retrenching. Millions of workers have seen unemployment since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. China reports that about 5 million of its citizens became unemployed within the first two months of the new year due to the outbreak.
And although not unemployed, there are millions of others still suffering from a loss of income. While some will have jobs to go back to after this health crisis is over, they are not currently earning as businesses have stopped operating. Many establishments follow a “no work, no pay” policy. This rule means that employees don’t make money unless they go to work.
Rise In Domestic Violence
Another social issue that has worsened during this pandemic is domestic violence. As national policies ask for people to stay at home, those in abusive households cannot escape their abusers. Many are calling it the “silent pandemic” as reported cases have spiked since the beginning of the outbreak.
As many share a home with their abusers, they also cannot find opportunities to seek out support. “Imagine you are somewhere with no privacy whatsoever during this lockdown,” registered psychotherapist Eran Hahn, MD, explains. “It’s unlikely you will go into a bathroom or closet and feel comfortable discussing your deepest traumas.”
Increase In Discrimination
Despite the virus affecting everyone in some way, discrimination continues to divide humanity. Since the news broke out about a new disease on the rise in Wuhan, people from certain groups have begun experiencing judgment from others.
One such demographic experiencing hatred from others is the Asian community. Because the virus first started infecting people in China, many have taken to calling it a “Chinese disease.” Many Asians, regardless of whether they were actually from China, have experienced discrimination and even physical violence. Some have reported people shouting at them to go back to their home countries or to not go out of their homes.
Also facing discrimination are those suffering from the coronavirus as well as their relatives. On top of having to deal with the disease, they also face fear from communities that fear them to be infectious.
And despite the critical role they play, health workers are likewise facing judgment from others. People who are fearful of contracting the disease have experienced acts of aggression and even physical violence towards them. A pair of men threw chlorine at a hospital utility worker from the Philippines who was on his way home from a hospital after work.
Risk Of Recession
Experts are looking at a severe global recession that they’re calling “The Great Lockdown.” As several industries are on hold due to quarantine measures, many businesses are not operating and earning. Unemployment is also on the rise as more and more individuals are experiencing lay-offs.
Likewise, financial markets remain unstable. Prices of goods such as crude oil continue on a downward trajectory. The world also saw a global stock market crash early in the year. While the health crisis was not the only cause, it played a significant role in affecting the financial and stock market.
As the pandemic looms on, public health is not the only issue that countries are currently facing. Social and economic problems are as severe and require the attention of governments and their citizens.
These problems include the lack of access to education for all, unemployment and loss of income, and increased domestic violence. Discrimination against others is also on the rise, and a global recession threatens the economy of all nations.