Millions of recently bereaved families are now grieving the loss of loved ones, with many unable to say goodbye amid strict lockdown measures and emergency protocols in overwhelmed hospitals. Restrictive measures aimed at checking the spread of coronavirus have also had a draining effect on families with young children, with the challenges of home-schooling and finding safe child care an extra hurdle to clear. Meanwhile, people living alone have had to endure long periods of enforced isolation during periods of lockdown. Loneliness is a signature of the pandemic for millions.
The COVID-19 pandemic has radically changed how millions of people around the world work, too. While office lights have gone dark and been replaced with the glow of video conference calls for many white collar professionals, essential workers in healthcare, retail, transport and delivery are shouldering the burden of demands from others who are comparatively less exposed to the coronavirus on a daily basis. The often precarious nature of essential work throughout the pandemic is also exacerbating existing social and economic inequalities.
The pandemic has also served as a reminder of the importance of community, and of how to nurture human relationships despite the virus. Volunteers have provided desperately-needed care and support to vulnerable people. Religious leaders and faith-based organisations have provided help, comfort and guidance. And members of online communities have forged meaningful and lasting bonds across borders.
As vaccination efforts around the world get underway and people tentatively look forward to a future no longer defined by coronavirus, we’ll look at how COVID-19 has changed our lives and how we will endure.