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What Will Our New Normal Feel Like? Hints Are Beginning to Emerge

A New Reality

A New Reality

The ongoing pandemic will, apart from changing the social and economic landscape, also alter the way people think, behave, and relate to others.

Research on the effects of prolonged isolation during epidemics, war, and sieges tells us a few things about what the coming months may look like.

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What Will Our New Normal Feel Like? Hints Are Beginning to Emerge

What Will Our New Normal Feel Like? Hints Are Beginning to Emerge

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/21/world/americas/coronavirus-social-impact.html

nytimes.com

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Key Ideas

A New Reality

The ongoing pandemic will, apart from changing the social and economic landscape, also alter the way people think, behave, and relate to others.

Research on the effects of prolonged isolation during epidemics, war, and sieges tells us a few things about what the coming months may look like.

Closures and Lockdowns

Until a cure or vaccine is found, which can take about two years, our daily life will be about managing the epidemic.

This includes not having any large gatherings (like weddings or concerts) or commuting on the subway. Many offices, factories, gyms, restaurants, bars, and places of worship will remain fully or partly closed.

Traveling

Interstate and international borders will remain tightly restricted. Even if the virus is controlled in a local region, it cannot be allowed to be ‘contaminated’ again by easing travel.

It is a good idea to use caution even when your local authorities tell you to go out freely.

Loss of Control And Mental Health

  • Epidemics see the rise in loss of control, stress, anxiety, depression, and anger. One loses the sense of normalcy, freedom, and the satisfaction of face-to-face interactions.
  • Many people take control of their lives by upgrading themselves, with exercise, a better diet, and new skills. During times of change, people end up changing, for better or worse.
  • Many of the learned skills and habits formed during these hard times remain with people throughout their lives.

Community Care

Many people start to show ‘prosocial behavior’ by caring for their neighbors, cooking food for their loved ones, caring for the needy, as a new sense of cooperative living blossoms in them.

In 2020, New York City is seeing similar behavior, with local support groups helping their immediate communities.

Resilience and Heightened Awareness

When the new reality becomes the norm, people change internally as an individual, becoming resilient while also living in the moment, as life now is insecure and unpredictable, and only the present moment is with us.

The revelation here is that life was always like that, but we had false securities in place.

Deep Scars

As in the bad times of the past, like the wars and epidemics, the deepest scars and traumas are felt after everything gets over.

Problems like Post-traumatic stress and other mental disorders can take years to surface.

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The New Virus and The Flu

According to health officials, tens of thousands of Americans die from the flu each year, while the new virus has far less infected. 

But the new virus may, in fact, be deadlier, and th...

Contagious And Hidden

  • The new virus is contagious, with a high reproduction rate.
  • The people who aren't displaying any outside symptoms are also contagious, making the new virus difficult or even impossible to control.
  • Currently, no one knows how many people are carrying the dormant virus in them while displaying no symptoms.

No Cure So Far

Older people and those with weak immunity are more susceptible to the virus. Children, who get infected severely by the flu are only showing mild or no symptoms to the new virus.

Flu infects far more people but there are vaccines for it. The new virus currently has no treatment or vaccination.

Current data for the severity of the virus shows that 80 percent have a mild infection, 15 percent had a severe illness and 5 percent critical illness.

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The pandemic

According to the World Health Organization, a pandemic is declared when a new disease for which people do not have immunity spreads around the world beyond expectations.

Declaring a pandemic

When declaring a pandemic, the World Health Organization has the last word. There is no threshold, such as a certain number of deaths or infections, or a number of countries affected, that needs to be met.
And once a pandemic is declared, it becomes more likely that community spread will eventually happen, and governments and health systems need to ensure they are prepared for that.

Dealing with the current pandemic

Although a pandemic has been declared, there is no need for global panic. Panic would defeat the purpose of trying to raise awareness.
It is still urging countries to detect, test, treat, isolate, trace and mobilize their people.

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We remain vulnerable

We remain vulnerable

For all our advances in medicine, we remain more vulnerable to pandemics than we would like to believe.

To understand our vulnerability and to establish what steps we need to take to end ...

The Black Death

In 1347, the Black Death came to Europe, first brought by the Mongol army, then spreading through Europe.

In six years, tens of millions fell gravely ill. Nearly half of all Europeans succumb to the Black Death, one-third of Egyptians and Syrians were killed, and it also laid waste to parts of central Asia, India, and China.

Disasters that scarred humanity

  • In AD 541, the plague of Justinian struck the Byzantine empire, killing roughly 3% of the world's population.
  • When Europeans reached the Americas in 1492, the two populations exposed each other to completely novel diseases such as measles, influenza, and smallpox.
  • Centuries later, the interconnected world made a global pandemic possible. The Spanish flu of 1918 spread to six continents where between 3% and 6% were killed.

However, even the Spanish flu pandemic had a minimal apparent effect on the world's development. It was less significant than the first world war, which had a smaller death toll but a more substantial impact on the course of history.

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