The COVID-19 outbreak has caused numerous citizens emotional pain and suffering, killed a large portion of the world, and has created a situation in which many economic, social, and health-related problems could arise. For now, the main goal is to keep the international population as safe as possible. However, it has recently been brought to light what other coronavirus-related dangers could pop up in the future.
The coronavirus has shut down many businesses that have not been deemed essential. Although they may not be needed during this crisis, these companies have an underlying purpose that may eventually be essential to the public. With many large hospitals taking in all of the infected patients, small medical practices, such as Pediatric West, a pediatric urgent care in Westford, Colorado, have been forced to temporarily close. This short-term closure and loss of months worth of paying customers will cause many of these medical companies to shut down permanently. At this time, some hospitals are being reserved for patients suffering from the coronavirus and others are available only for crucial cases. With medical practices like Pediatric West closing down for good, the population will be left without medical centers for simple checkups and vaccinations. This opens up the possibility for another, or even several, outbreaks to occur soon after this one dies out.
The lockdown has also closed numerous “safe spots” that citizens would usually retreat to when in need of help. The closure of many domestic abuse shelters, such as the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA), due to the coronavirus has led to an increase in domestic violence. Because many people are working at home or have even become recently unemployed, abusive family members are spending more time with their relatives and seem to have more built up anger as their jobs and monthly salaries are taken away. As abusers take out their aggression on their loved ones, in a normal circumstance, the abused family members would attempt to escape to a nearby shelter, but with many of them closed at this time, these individuals are stuck at home facing more violence. The shelter closures give these mistreated family members nowhere to go and no successful way of getting away.
“We found social factors that put people more at risk for violence are reduced access to resources, increased stress due to job loss or strained finances, and disconnection from social support systems,” Psychologist Josie Serrata PhD said. “With this pandemic, we’re seeing similar things happen, which unfortunately leads to circumstances that can foster violence.”
For young teens, this social isolation will not only cause increased boredom, but could lead to future psychological disadvantages. Kids between the ages of ten and nineteen tend to be more susceptible to anxiety and depression as it is, and this separation from other adolescents could exacerbate these existing psychological problems, or even reduce their comprehension level of nonverbal emotional signals. At the start of 2020 amid the coronavirus pandemic, the nonprofit organization Mental Health America monitored the increase in clinical anxiety. With their screening data, the company was able to identify a 19 percent increase in the first weeks of February and another 12 percent increase in the first two weeks of March.
The coronavirus and the shutdown that accompanies it has led to mass discomfort and fear of the future. The virus has created a large sense of uncertainty going into the rest of the year and into peoples’ lives in general. There are a variety of ways that COVID-19 has and could change the world, but during this unprecedented time, there is only one way to know what and how things will differ; to wait and see.