Life Beyond The Pandemic

It’s the general consensus amongst all leading scientists that some variants of the disease will remain with us for many years but quite how the future will look like is unclear.

With Covid related deaths fast approaching 2.5 million globally, many questions are being asked. Will it be another Smallpox event and be eradicated in time? Will the virus evolve into more even more dangerous variants that are more resistant to vaccines?

On thing is becoming apparent – no one knows for sure. Just as scientists think they are making headway, that there is a small glimmer of hope for the planet, albeit in the distant future, quite worryingly, the virus evolves into multiple new strains around different parts of the world.

Drawing Parallels From Natural Disasters

Our recovery timeline is going to be a very long and windy road … and it’s going to be turbulent. It will not be for example, a recovery from a natural disaster like an earthquake or hurricane but there are parallels. In the case of Hurricane Katrina, recovery of survivors was by large, defined by two main components. The subjective emotions about where they are in their lives and objectively, do they have a stable home and where they are financially.

A leading global academic who studies how people recover from natural disasters, David Abramson, PhD, a renowned Clinical Associate Professor at the New York University’s School of Global Public Health analysed, with his team, five measures of recovery :

Physical Health
Housing Stability
Mental Health
Economic Stability
Social Role Adaptation

He discovered that in the case of Hurricane Katrina, survivors never really resumed to the course heading they were before the event took place. We are all on this course of life and major events and disasters knock people permanently off this course never to return to where they were before.

Self Analysis

One of the long term casualties are the people who have dropped out of their usual employment. Yes they may find alternative employment but they will find it difficult returning to the same life trajectory they were on. For example, in general conversation or in an interview, if asked ‘tell me more about yourself’ if the person can no longer describe themselves as ‘a teacher’ or be able to say‘ I’m an Accountant’ or ‘I’m a pilot’, it will change the way they think about themselves and their place in society.

Effects On Children

The pandemic will see a whole generation of children being affected.

An example being that a young adult in their teens may see losing an internship as a minor setback in life but such a missed window of opportunity may well have long lasting consequences echoing for years to come, quite possibly leaving them dwelling on what life achievements they could have missed.
More younger students will also lose out on critical education with a recent survey in Germany reinforcing this idea. Parents of German children were spending half of the 7.4 hours a day doing educational activities during the school closures and a report from the OECD went on to suggest that this loss of learning will have consequential financial effects.

It’s therefore very important that parents and teachers alike take great care in ensuring that, however they pull through this pandemic, they do so without losing hope and optimism as to what the future holds, perhaps even to encourage dreams and visions with life aspirations to go on. This will not only help them as the younger generation but will serve as wise advice for the adults of this world too.

A Virus Leaving Scars & Trauma

With current levels of infection, doctors are estimating that 1 out of 10 people that have been infected will have ongoing suffering lasting weeks or even months even after the infection has cleared. That potentially means millions of people will manage the long term effects of a virus that could turn into a chronic condition.

Take for example a real life case study, a 40 year old man, a train engineer who lives in Ohio with his wife and two children. A couple of days before Christmas, he had chest pains leading to a stroke. Upon examination, doctors thought it was triggered by a Covid 19 that he didn’t even know he had.
When they took him to hospital, he was shocked he tested positive for Covid.

His wife described him as being super-clean, a germaphobe where he constantly washed his hands, avoided touching door handles and he wore a mask at all times in public places and work. Prior to his heart condition, he didn’t have any other medical issues and was generally really healthy but doctors since discovered that a Covid 19 infection can severely affect the body’s ability to clot blood. Furthermore, it has also been reported that seemingly silent infections were closely followed by a stroke.

His wife went on to say she observed him getting more frustrated and overwhelmed that he couldn’t do the things the way he used to. Although his condition has become better, many other things are still way off and perhaps in time, things may return to normal for him.

Health & Wellbeing

Post pandemic, experts say poor health will be reflected population-wide and we will emerge from this crisis more sicker. Access to healthcare has been severely reduced, stress levels are hitting an all time high and there is also more worry about food. These along with other factors, will have a detrimental affect on global health.

Obesity is on the increase and many will have to work hard to shed those extra kilos. In Italy, a recent pandemic survey was carried out amongst children and found that they were sleeping more, moved a lot less, spent an extra five hours in front of screens and consumed more sugary foods, more red meat and in general, more junk food while they did so.

We adults haven’t done a great deal better either. A global survey found that thanks to more cooking taking place in homes, although we were eating better, we were also moving less and consuming more. Statistics show that on average, 1 in 3.5 had gained weight during the pandemic and according to The National Institute of Health, this may well bring about a surge of extra health related issues such as heart disease, sleeping disorders, blood pressure problems and will continue in the post pandemic years.

In Conclusion

The virus is evolving & mutating rapidly and the risks they pose were further underlined by Novavax when they discovered recently that their vaccine was not as effective against the new strains found in the UK and South Africa. It’s still spreading and the more it does, the more likely that it will evade current treatments, tests and vaccines. Scientists for now agree that the most important priority is to quickly vaccinate as many people as possible. Beyond that, it really depends on the strength and longevity of the resulting immunity from the virus but the chances are very slim that the vaccines offer immunity for life.

In the long term, as with a lot of life changing disasters, people will eventually feel a sense of recovery, a sense of bouncing back. Such events seem to underpin the concept that ‘time heals all wounds’ and in the real sense, it absolutely does. People who have endured such pain & loss through disasters eventually learn to deal with the suffering, absorb it and move on, though not as ‘cleanly’ as one would think I might add.

The ongoing development of vaccines will eventually mean that viral infections will be much less common and considerably less harmful than what we are experiencing now. It’ll still be out there, it’ll still circulate, it’ll still mutate just like the flu virus, but when the more susceptible people get sick, it’ll be that much more easier to treat them.

The global environment that lies ahead may look very different than in the pre-covid era we were all comfortable with. The worlds heavyweights are prioritising & spending billions in finding a solution to a life threatening pathogen that has plunged us into an existence no one has ever experienced nor expected.
There is a very strong possibility that we will have to learn to coexist with Covid and quite how we live depends on how long the vaccine offers protection and how the virus mutates and evolves over time.


Max Chohan is a professional literary communicator & visual content designer specialising in audience outreach through static & dynamic digital media. As a passive member of MENSA, he’s written thousands of mostly fact-based journals, articles and digital content covering a very broad subject base.