As the year is going by in the wake of Covid-19, experts are gradually seeing signs of the potential consequences that the world will be facing in the future. If awareness isn’t created there is a genuine risk of increased social deprivation and inequality. The humanity of this era is right in the middle of an event of historic proportions and it is going to leave scars that will last for years to come.
The virus is and will further on, behaving major effects upon geopolitics, economy and society in general. It is evident that the global risks and impacts are extremely interdependent, a fact that is highlighted by the World Economic Forum in its recently published report about the “Covid-19 Risks Outlook”. Currently, the unforeseen employment levels caused due to the lockdowns to control the spread of the virus made the world learn a harsh lesson, that we need to be socially deprived in order to stay healthy and alive.
The long-term effects of Corona
The impact of the virus is definitely massive and has entirely changed the ways of the world, in regards to social inequality, change in consumer behavior, or the function and role of technology to name a few. The social dimensions of this crisis are continuing to negatively affect the well being of every individual and will create substantial changes and differences in the times ahead.
Optimism and Fear
When it comes to the business industry, it has made sure that the employees are supported along with the customers. Within some of the sectors around the world, a combination of fiscal policies and furloughing have held economies in place. As countries are struggling to emerge from the crisis wreaking havoc on the health sector and to re-start the economical cogs, the prospects of employments face major changes in work practices, and attitudes towards consumption, commuting and traveling.
Despite the stabilization period that the business world is going through right now, consumer behavior is already in an altering phase. In March 2020, the spending graph for global consumption fell rapidly every week. However, late April and early in May it made a little bit of recovery as people anticipated things to become more normal. The initial spending was done on essentials like groceries, but later on it turned to clothing and home improvement items. Entertainment is the sector that is barely getting any business during the current scenario.
Rarely before has the human resource department become so important as it is proving to be right now. A lot of companies like 7dollaressay have turned to remote working in order to operate safely. Remote working causes an increased isolation risk, dependency on alcohol, and smoking among other unhealthy social behaviors. The state was viewed as a safety net previously, now the businesses have to accept the responsibility of protecting their employees in order to thrive and survive. This is a change of attitude that is going to shadow the private vs public debate in the days ahead.
Returning to a Covid-19 free world is going to be a lengthy and difficult task, at least until there is an effective strategy formed for the health crisis that is preferably a combination of drugs and a vaccine that is easily available. During the prevailing period, cutbacks on traveling are going to continue on and industries of tourism and hospitality will suffer. Not everyone who is jobless will be able to go back to work, as businesses are getting adapted to a smaller number of workers on their payroll. The challenge is as much psychological as economic when it comes to going back to normalcy.
Fears that we feel as a collective whole, need to be reconciled with accepting the uncertain aspects of the future that are looming up ahead. The reinforced government messaging, along with the data of the rate of infected people and the horrible reality of the number of deaths caused by the virus are all making the simple task of merely “staying at home” tough to endure. There is always a doubt lingering inside if we really are going to be secure by only following these measures. This continued state of uncertainty and fear can cause trust erosion in society as a whole in the longer run.
Is inequality going to stay?
The speed and timing of the recovery in the economic sector is most likely to intensify mental health issues, inequality, and lack of cohesion in the societal structure. It is widening the gap between the younger and the older generation and poses serious employment and educational challenges. The Covid-19 crisis has already been most damaging to the poverty-stricken or below middle-class tier. In a lot of places, people are torn between the moral dilemma of staying at home for the protection of themselves and their family or going out to earn their living in order to not have their children suffer from hunger instead. The constant exposure to health-damaging conditions that are faced by the workers on the lowest paid wages raises the concern of an even higher death toll. This problem is important enough to be addressed during the normalization and recovery phase.
The societal and economic disturbances caused by the lockdown are becoming harder to bear especially for young people and is affecting their mental well being and health. The education sector is another one that is going to be riddled by inequalities among the young generation. Right now, 80% of the students around the world are not going to schools. The ones coming from lower-income backgrounds do not have any means to access online classes. Those who do can take benefits of services such in this time of stress. The consequences of these educational disruptions will cause disadvantages for this generation in the employment market.
Although we are facing issues that seem insurmountable, we need to understand and raise awareness about these difficulties up ahead in ourselves and others to prepare ourselves for facing them with less chaos and fear in our hearts.