Repercussions of Social/Physical Distancing
If you feel lonely these days, you are like many other people around the world. The COVID-19 virus has brought social and physical distancing into people’s daily lives, and the consequences are still uncertain. When the pandemic finally ends, people will see how much the social and physical distancing have affected normal life.
Ever since the virus started to spread, people have heard that they should stay apart from each other if possible. This “social distancing” is supposed to help limit the spread of the illness and to help get it under control. However, people are beginning to realize the possible repercussions of this advice, especially for the elderly or people who live alone. Some experts are now trying to change from talking about “social distancing” to using the term “physical distancing” to emphasize the need for people to maintain relationships and keep up their community ties. Language is very important and must be analyzed as we trudge through this time.
You probably know that experts have recommended staying about two metres away from other people, if possible, to stop the spread of the virus. That way, coughs and sneezes are less likely to spread any illness to others. This distance may seem impossible to maintain, especially in apartment elevators and other close spaces. Still, many people have been trying to keep their distance from others. This distancing could help end outbreaks of the virus but damage society in many other ways.
With schools and many businesses closed, people are not in contact with each other as much as they were before. For people who were already lonely before this happened, the change is devastating. For example, elderly people living alone might depend on their weekly activities to keep them interested and motivated to get up each day. Without that, they could easily fall into depression, from which they might never recover.
Even for younger people, depression is a real possibility. Sudden changes like being unable to go to work or school can be difficult. People need to find something to do, and their old hobbies might be impossible without the option of meeting with others. Sitting at home all day with nothing to do is not healthy, and some people might find it hard to recover when the current crisis is over.
Besides the emotional consequences, many people will find it difficult to recover economically. Jobs have disappeared, and even people with jobs are unable to work. For students, finding summer jobs might be impossible unless society returns to normal very quickly. If people are unable to pay their tuition, rent, or other bills, debt could become a problem for years to come.
Academic progress could also stall because the virus has caused the closure of schools and universities. Some students who were supposed to graduate this spring might need to take an extra semester, and high school students may need to do extra work to graduate this year.
The COVID-19 virus has brought many changes to the world with social and physical distancing. When the crisis is over, people will have to find a way to get back to normal.
Hensley, Laura. “Social Distancing Is Out, Physical Distancing Is In — Here’s How to Do It.”
Miller, Kenneth E. “Let’s Aim for Physical Rather Than Social Distancing.” https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-refugee-experience/202003/lets-aim-physical-rather-social-distancing.
Public Health. “Physical Distancing (Social Distancing) (COVID-19).” https://www.phsd.ca/health-topics-programs/diseases-infections/coronavirus/social-distancing-covid-19.
Zaharieva, Radost. “The Dangers of Social Isolation During a Pandemic.” https://epha.org/the-dangers-of-social-isolation-during-a-pandemic/.