Impact of Covid 19 on society

Subject: Health Care
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Word count: 879
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The impact of covid 19 on society is far-reaching. From school closures to devastating industries, the social costs of the pandemic are many and varied. The pandemic has aggravated the inequalities and undermined the progress on global poverty. The pandemic has affected every segment of the population and is particularly intense among people living in poverty, the aged, and the disabled, among other vulnerabilities. Evidence showed that the pandemic’s health and economic status was disproportionate among the poor at the moment of the outbreak. However, the effects of the virus cut across every sector, greatly influencing people’s behavior across countries. Besides compromising the social livelihoods of most families, the pandemic has compromised social relations, particularly in people’s interactions, due to the introduction of measures that changed the behavior of every person.

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Impact on Society and Disruption of Social Process

The social network is one parameter greatly affected in the wake of the covid 19. According to Long et al. (2022), a social network comprises every connection that makes up a system. Upon the strike of the pandemic, face-to-face interactions were severely affected and greatly reduced among several groups, either in the workplace, among family members, or with roommates. This resulted in losing weak ties, which became highly restricted to the close ones. As a result, Covid 19 most likely gave rise to quite homogeneous and smaller networks. However, such changes may not be unavoidable as social networks can be adaptive and easily respond to changes.

Consequently, people resorted to using zoom for meetings. However, it became quite challenging in cases of newly established relationships. For instance, students and workers that were new to each other struggled to take their relationships online, yielding, losing contacts, and increasing the risk of social isolation.

Moreover, covid 19 resulted in the deprivation of social support. While social support is critical as a resilience factor in the event of uncertainties, the strike of the covid 19 severely disrupted the provision of social support. Notably, the disruption has been the opportunity for impulsive social interactions. For instance, a random conversation with colleagues provides chances for socializing beyond one social network, which provides social support through offering advice and seeking formal help. However, such opportunities ceased with the advent of the covid 19 pandemic as it reduced support-seeking opportunities. Moreover, the adoption of homeworking and closure of social events limited the number of avenues for these unprompted interactions to take place. Therefore, people with geographically dispersed core networks have limited opportunities to benefit from direct conversations.

Besides the breakage in social support, new opportunities for interacting and obtaining social support were devised. The covid 19 effects that restricted most people to their local area or country necessitated them to rely more on in-person interactions locally, which reflected in more associations that enhanced close relationships between people. For instance, Long et al. (2022) remark that at the start of the lockdown in the UK, movement restrictions sparkled unusual acts of generosity between the same community but were previously alien to each other.

Moreover, online networks intensify social support as it is not bound by geography. It enabled the thriving of social support and interactions from a wider composition of people. While online social groups such as support groups were in use even before Covid 19, it has intensified since the advent of the pandemic. Meetings, seminars, and even workshops have been taken online to offer convenience amid the lockdowns and gathering restrictions.

Impacts on Social Interactions

Social interactions are vital relational parameters that enhance trust, identity, and a sense of belonging within and across groups. Physical distancing protocols and not shaking hands to curtail the spread of the pandemic drastically altered the norms of interaction, especially those used in conveying sympathy, respect, and empathy (Katila, Gan & Goodwin, 2020). Large social gatherings such as weddings and other ceremonies that often offer avenues of interaction between people from all walks were banned, limiting the opportunities for affirming and assimilating norms, creating shared identity, and building cohesion across social groups. The devised alternatives, such as online interactions, do not support social support to the level of physical interactions.

Also, the loss of interactions with others that would take place through gatherings reduces intergroup contact. While online interaction can go a long way to taking the form of physical interaction norms, there is still a gap that is hard to fill; online interaction is devoid of anonymity and lacks in-person emotional cues.

Intimacy is another vital social aspect greatly impacted by the covid 19 pandemic. Intimacy results in various benefits, such as reduced stress, lowered blood pressure, improved mental health, and limited risks of cardiovascular problems. In addition, the covid 19 pandemic offered opportunities for people to connect and reconnect close ties within the household by having quality time spent together following the closure of several outdoor social activities (Bradbury‐Jones & Isham, 2020).

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Conclusion

In sum, the covid 19 pandemic has impacted society through major interactions that strengthen the identity and the culture of social belonging to the group members. While there are remarkable steps taken by authorities in various jurisdictions to flatten the curve, such actions have aggravated the impacts and widened the interaction gap. Consequently, online interactions have been widely used for various purposes. However, they are still devoid of the rationale of interactions as creating a sense of belonging, building trust, and creating identity.

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  1. Bradbury‐Jones, C., & Isham, L. (2020). The pandemic paradox: The consequences of COVID‐19 on domestic violence. Journal of clinical nursing.
  2. Katila, J., Gan, Y., & Goodwin, M. H. (2020). Interaction rituals and ‘social distancing’: New haptic trajectories and touching from a distance in the time of COVID-19. Discourse Studies22(4), 418-440.
  3. Long, E., Patterson, S., Maxwell, K., Blake, C., Pérez, R. B., Lewis, R., … & Mitchell, K. R. (2022). COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on social relationships and health. J Epidemiol Community Health76(2), 128-132.
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