I began following the news of the Coronavirus when it began in Wuhan, China at the beginning of January 2020. It immediately drew my attention because it was the first time an outbreak had occurred and I was old enough to comprehend what was happening and educate myself by reading the newspaper. The swine flu outbreak occurred when I was in late elementary school and the only memory I have is my classmates giggling about how it spread because someone had kissed a pig. In January, America seemed safely tucked away on the other side of the world, but now in Mid- March, the spread of Coronavirus has become a sobering reality for the United States as we prepare to wage our own fight against the virus. But, we are not alone - Coronavirus is sweeping chaos across the globe in six out of seven continents and 163 countries. More than 340,000 people have fallen sick with COVID-19 around the world and more than 15,000 people have died, a number that has only grown every day this month.
For college seniors like me, Coronavirus means cancelled semesters, cancelled graduations, and crushed spirits. The hardest part for me was the abruptness with which things ended. Most of the time in life we’re able to prepare for our goodbye’s; shed a few tears, move out, hug everyone goodbye. But, I left for spring break with very little clothes in my suitcase and told myself I’d be back before I knew it. Now I’m at home, not sure when I will return, if I will see some friends again, and deeply regretting my wardrobe choices (not that I even leave the house). Regardless of who you are, what age, what country, Coronavirus is certainly disrupting your life one way or another.
Social media during a time like this has become, not surprisingly, an outlet to share about the importance of social distancing and to encourage one another during a more difficult time. People are imploring each other to stay at home and to “flatten the curve”. People used social media to implore businesses to close, filling their posts with comments, demanding them to protect the well-being of their employees and to pay them during this time. Meme culture is something that has really picked up steam these past few years and already countless memes have been created about coronavirus and how it’s impacting all of us. In a time where we have to be physically apart, social media has been a platform that makes me feel like we are all still very united.
The question that I’ve been exploring the past few days is the question of how our world will look like after this global pandemic. Will restaurants really see their dining areas filled with people once again? Or will caution and fear keep humans away from overly crowded areas as fresh memories of Coronavirus linger? Will work increasingly become something that we can do at home, and will meetings shift toward video calls where users can safely sit behind their screens? I suspect that after this pandemic, many more travelers will be wary of global travel and the consequences that can come from exploring a country that is not their own. Will we begin taking climate more seriously, now that we see how much cleaner the world is when we are actively not a part of it?
In terms of health care trends, I believe we will see a significant increase in the use of telehealth, increased education around flu season, and health care professionals finally getting the praise and recognition in society that they lacked before, which they are widely receiving at a time like this. For our government, I believe we will see a higher turnout at the polls this fall. This pandemic will be a wake-up call to Americans that we need a competent government and leader to properly respond and make the right choices for its people in a time of distress. History was always my favorite subject because of the cause and effect you could see so clearly in human life because of certain events that had occurred. The global pandemic that we are experiencing right now is a part of history that will certainly leave its mark on the way we live life as a society beyond this point.
Although I would much rather be at school right now, finishing my last semester and graduating alongside my friends, I am trying to find the positives in the unexpected time I have at home. I’ve gotten more quality time with my family than I ever remember before, and I’ve tried new recipes and read books that I could never find time for during school. My senior year did not end in any way I expected, but nevertheless I am healthy, safe and face timing my friends while maintaining a safe distance.