Under the Hood

Are We Losing Control Over Our Own Lives Due To The Coronavirus Pandemic?

COVID-19 continues to spread around the world. As the number of cases increases, the impacts of the disease also expand, with more people reporting problems with their mental health because of the required mass isolation. 

People lost livelihoods, freedom of movement and social contact because of the novel coronavirus. Combined with the fear of catching the disease, the loss of control over our own lives could increase the risk of anxiety and other mental problems. 

Uncertainties surround the COVID-19 pandemic. Scientists have yet to fully understand how the disease affects people, governments struggle to contain the virus and people worry about their future because of restrictions. 

“All we can know for sure about the next several months, probably longer, is that life won’t be anything like it used to be. But just what it will be, no one really knows,” David Ropeik, instructor at Harvard University Extension School, said in an article posted on Psychology Today. “That uncertainty brings a form of powerlessness and unsettling lack of control.”

People Against People

Not everyone has accepted the “new normal” that involves minimizing contact with others, including families and friends. Social distancing plays an important role in preventing the spread of COVID-19. 

People also face problems wearing masks when going out, while others ignore stay-at-home measures and continue to spend time outdoors. These problems have already sparked conflict between citizens who follow rules set by the government and those who want to return to normality immediately. 

“So our initial fear of the disease, still strong, is now essentially competing with the anxiety caused by that loss of control,” Ropeik said. “The unsettling powerlessness we feel grows stronger daily, eroding our fear of the still-real threat of COVID-19 and putting us in harm’s way, even as we try to feel more in control and safer.”

He noted that people should continue to follow stay-at-home or social distancing measures. The novel coronavirus is highly contagious and can easily spread across communities. 

Previous pandemics showed that returning to normality immediately could lead to more problems. Health experts said that the second wave of infections could harm and even kill more people.

COVID-19 Protests Liberate Minnesota protest at the governor's residence in St Paul, Minnesota. Lorie Shaull/flickr

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