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How the Coronavirus may be affecting us economically & socially

Globally, we have seen health alerts spread across our lands that has caused awareness to rise. There has been the ebola virus, swine flu and avian flu in our recent history. Time and time again, safety measures were taken and such risks were diffused. But unlike those, this year a new virus has spread that not only raised awareness, but also caused a global initiative the likes we have not seen in decades. For many, it’s never been seen before.

In many countries, citizens are being told to stay home at all cost. Only go out when necessary. Wear protection and make sure to sanitize yourself many times a day, in case. The coronavirus has impacted the world in many ways we did not expect, and it happened so fast. Say what you want about if people are over/under-reacting about it, the truth is that people are indeed dying from it. What it’s done in several weeks, has been more impactful than what a common flu has done in a year. And that impact has affected us, country to country, in more ways than one.

Now Flying To. . .?

Let’s start with the obvious – Hardly anyone can get on a plane and take off now. That one hurts for many of us wanderlusters, but it’s understandable as most citizens are returning to their home countries. Meanwhile others are stuck where they are, like Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson, due to risk or testing positive of having the virus. The last thing people want is more of those, who are infected, to take it to places that have not had cases of the virus. Invisible walls are now up between many countries, such as Italy and Spain, where many are under quarantine and cannot leave home or travel. While thousands of others now are forced to cancel upcoming trips and cruises, or cancel any ideas of such adventures.

Work From Home

Economically, it’s impacted much of the globe in terms of trades and finance. Stock markets here have dropped by huge numbers as businesses are in fear. Those fears have cause many jobs to tell it’s employers to stay home. Even if you live in a country that hasn’t imposed self-quarantine, many are taking the initiative to stay inside anyways. But before they do, they are sweeping the markets for as much supplies as they can get. Toilet paper, wipes, disinfectants and produce are among the top things being taken. While understandable, it’s also not good as people take things they may not need like baby wipes which leaves parents with young children at risk. Similar to the gasoline (petrol) scare that stemmed from Hurricane Harvey, where so many people stocked up on gas that drained pumps across the nation, people are acting on impulse. It’s okay to stock up, but also consider others and realize they need things as well.

The more people are staying at home, the less revenue other workplaces are experiencing. From movie theatres to sporting events, therapists to gym trainers, and (of course) travel airlines; everyone is experiencing it. And with less revenue, not only are jobs telling employers to stay home (to avoid risk of spreading), but they are laying people off due to supply and demand. So, the job market has been effected as well due to this health scare. For someone, such as myself, who was already searching for a new job the wait now grows longer due to the uncertainty of the virus longevity; as well as the workplace’s trust in opening it’s doors for employees again.

This has been an unexpected recession of sorts, with the economy falling a bit. However, with every ebb, there is a flow. As the tide falls, you know it will rise again. So while this is not a pleasant time, it is an opportune time to strike while things are down. By that I mean stocks and investments. That’s pretty much all I can say on it, as I’m no economist, but I do know that once the health scare and public fears reside things will pick up as will the economy. Be smart with your money and look at opportunities out there where you know bounce-backs, if not booms, will occur. While stuck at home, examine the markets and see where is a good place to invest. Or maybe invest in yourself.

Social Distancing

From a societal aspect, the coronavirus has certainly pulled us apart. Nations are closing off others from coming in or going out right now, people are staying home for who knows how long, and government and media are encouraging us to do social distancing. Social distancing. The very name sounds scary when not looking at it from a health precaution standpoint. While the main purpose is to keep an eye on how close we get to others, and the amount of physical contact we have with them, people tend to overcompensate.

Like how people overstock, society has taken extreme measures and begun to shut itself off from the world physically. Many people are hiding inside, whether being told to, or by their own choice. At first, they created greetings and goodbyes (like using their feet) as a funny way to deal with this virus. Now no one wants to touch anyone else out of fear of getting it. When people do go to the stores, or wherever, they might be wearing gloves or masks to protect themselves. The most subtle cough or nose sniffle sends alarms to their brain to run. We forget spring is that time of year where most common illnesses occur.

Besides the physical aspect of interactions, the social aspect is also experiencing a hit. The trust we may have had with strangers has dropped, as we avoid talking with others unless we absolutely have to. Family dynamics at home could be strained having to be around them more often, or maybe living alone is making you hate the seclusion. You want to interact with others but, understandably, they don’t interact as much with you until this virus passes. Those we work with, and talk to daily, are now at home. We now become just coworkers who work online, with little to no communication shared like there was in person. And even our friends we don’t see as much due to this. We can call and text, but there goes most (if not all) adventures with them at the moment.

In an age where we’re already combating how much time we spend in front of our tech screens, as opposed to other humans, this global event is forcing us to side with technology. In an unknown amount of time, will we get so used to it that we may even prefer it? There are some articles out there that stress not to fall in this trap of misconstruing the term “social distancing”, but humans have a knack of taking extra steps; just to be safe. Whenever the virus does pass, how long will it take to trust not just our neighbors but our neighbors overseas? For some it will be quick, while others a bit longer. Will this help create a more cleanliness environment or an obsessive one over germs and human touch?

Heading Further Into Unknown

This is a delicate time in our lives as our trust has been effected as we navigate the unknown. It can be scary not knowing what will happen next; especially those who may have the virus. But also for those who are impacted like those who can’t get things from the store because it’s sold out of supplies, or the job seekers who don’t know when a steady paycheck will come. Or for those who want to travel with a purpose, but now must put that on hold; uncertain how much longer you’ll have to wait. While it’s natural to take precaution, do keep in mind others and don’t be afraid to (metaphorically) reach out to them. Many are told or encouraged to stay home, but there’s still the freedom to be outside. Just be smart about it, and what or who you contact with.

No one knows how long this virus will last. Many businesses and organizations are putting things on hold for about 3 weeks to a little over a month before deciding whether to resume or not. But take advantage of this time while you still can; even if it’s painfully boring at home for a while. Will the coronavirus subside by then though? Or is this just the beginning? When will jobs have faith and hire again? Will they transition to online only after seeing how well it worked? And what will happen to us socially? How long will it take for us to trust each other again when it comes to traveling, contacting and interacting? Will social distancing remain as it only speeds up the process in which humans focus more on technology instead of each other? It’s hard to answer these for now, as it’s a matter of waiting and seeing. One thing certain is that we, as humans, have not seen such a global impact like this occur in a very long time. . .

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