How Has the Pandemic Changed Us 2 Years On?

Young woman looking sad through a window.

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) curtails Internet access in China and imposes many other restrictions on its residents. (Image: Luboslav Ivanko via Dreamstime)

I have been reading a book recently, which keeps me up with a resolution for the New Year — reading more often. A part of the tale centers around a plague. Historic plagues have been taught and spoken about, yet never did I believe we’d experience a pandemic in my lifetime.

Then, along came the coronavirus. Globally, the effects of the pandemic continue to cause distress and devastation. It is not just regarding the massive loss of life — currently estimated to be at 5.71 million — but also the impact on the economy and the way of living for millions in general.

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Two years on, I often come across the term “new normal.” Life today, post-coronavirus (although we aren’t all quite out of the pandemic just yet), has changed significantly.

For many, general life perspectives also changed. When globally imposed pandemic lockdowns forced us all to halt our lives and pause for longer than we’d all anticipated initially, it provided time for many of us to re-evaluate what truly matters. As a result, many admit to spending more time with family, being in a new job, or leaving a long-term relationship post-coronavirus.

When globally imposed pandemic lockdowns forced us all to halt our lives, it provided time for many of us to re-evaluate what truly matters.
When globally imposed pandemic lockdowns forced us all to halt our lives, it provided time for many of us to re-evaluate what truly matters. (Image: Dmitry Marchenko via Dreamstime)

Global economic effects of the pandemic

The global economy continues to reel from the effects of the pandemic. Mainstream news outlets are rife with fear-mongering headlines regarding soaring living costs and the highest generational inflation rates, to name only a couple.

Despite many businesses resuming office-based work, reports also estimate that millions of people worldwide will still be working remotely by 2025.

In September 2021, UK Research and Innovation published Conspiracy Theories and COVID-19. The World Health Organization (WHO) previously warned that “misinformation related to COVID-19 constitutes an infodemic.”

As also outlined by UKRI, a previous study conducted by King’s College London and the University of Bristol found that people who get their information regarding the coronavirus from online social media platforms are more hesitant about getting vaccinated.

Arguments regarding the COVID-19 vaccines continue to flood the mainstream, online platforms, and podcasts. It even causes divisions among families and friends. If the recent (and now infamous) Novak Djokovic case tells us anything, it’s that what was once deemed as “pro-choice” is now the complete opposite.

Tennis player Novak Djokovic preparing for the Australian Open at the Kooyong Classic Exhibition tournament.
Tennis player Novak Djokovic said that he ‘wouldn’t want to be forced by someone to take a vaccine,’ and after traveling to Australia, was deported instead of being allowed to compete in the Australian Open. (Image: STRINGERImages via Dreamstime)

When widespread “fake news” is constantly filtered through, some politicians go against scientifically proven advice for us all to see clearly. So it’s easy to see why post-coronavirus has led to mistrust amongst many.

However, it has also frequently been reported that COVID-19 has taught many people to be kinder to others. In February 2021, The Independent published People Have Become Kinder During The Coronavirus Pandemic, Study Finds

As reported by Olivia Petter, a Travelodge survey of 2,000 participants found that people made more efforts to stay in touch with friends and relatives and donated more to food banks and charitable organizations.

I’m struggling with the post-pandemic (which, again, we aren’t quite yet out of) effects. Household bills are now a dreaded sight; general living costs are challenging to keep up with, and having lost two relatives since 2020 (one to cancer and one to COVID-19), it’s been a challenge to feel as optimistic as I may have done two years ago.

That being said, I have learned to appreciate the more minor things that life offers, such as a walk in the park. During lockdowns, a simple walk in the park felt like a sanctuary, hence why I can appreciate it a lot more nowadays.

I have learned from the events of the past two years that life is truly precious, and our time experiencing the world isn’t guaranteed. Despite the worries of life, I’m thankful to be here still to tell the tale.

Unfortunately, there are millions of others who can’t say the same two years on.

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