With a fierce winter storm bearing down on the Northeast, Connecticut doctor C

Author : torunlota
Publish Date : 2021-01-08 13:47:34


With a fierce winter storm bearing down on the Northeast, Connecticut doctor C

With a fierce winter storm bearing down on the Northeast, Connecticut doctor Craig Canapari, MD, was asked by his kids: Will tomorrow be a snow day? “Sadly they will be disappointed,” Canapari tweeted. “One is already doing online school on Thursday. The other will be.”

This arguably innocuous annoyance struck me as telling of the countless things that are being disrupted by the pandemic — small pleasures and larger ways of life we’ve long taken for granted but which will never be the same.

Death is the ultimate horrific outcome of the Covid-19 pandemic, of course, and without meaning to minimize the pain and sadness left behind by the more than 300,000 departed Americans and 1.6 million deaths worldwide, I got to thinking about the many other ways Covid has, and will, irrevocably change the lives of so many people, of society as a whole, for years and even generations to come.


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I’ll get to the lesser things below. But first, there are several truly distressing and harrowing casualties of Covid-19 that will play out for years:

Long-haul physical effects
We have no clue yet just how devastating Covid-19 is for those who survive it. Already, we do know that thousands of people, young and old, are suffering physical pain and mental distress — including memory and concentration problems — months after they were declared Covid-free. Sadly, it’s appearing ever more likely that some of these long-haul symptoms could be lifetime afflictions.

Economic catastrophe
It will be many months and possibly years before we can grasp the full scope of disastrous financial effects on tens of millions of Americans who’ve lost their jobs or had their incomes slashed, or might soon. Already the devastation clear for countless families. Across the country, children are going hungry and parents are overwhelming food pantries like never in recent memory. Missed rent and homeowner payments are piling up, and broad wealth reduction will create hardship for millions of families — holes are being dug that will sink some people for the rest of their lives.

Educational and earnings disadvantages
The year of disrupted instruction, with more sure to come, will reverberate for a lifetime, especially among kids who are in (or out of) K-8 schools, in the form of lower earning potential. Research has shown what all parents have learned: Online education is not as effective as in-class instruction, particularly for young children. One study projects that one year of online-only learning would cause $195 billion of lifelong earnings losses for current K-12 students.

Deadly side effects
People are already dying from several non-Covid causes because they missed cancer screenings or didn’t get medical care for other serious health issues. Excess deaths in 2020, those that exceed the otherwise very stable annual average, will end the year above 400,000 (based on my own analysis of actual excess deaths through November 21, Covid-19 deaths since then, and the current daily pace of Covid-19 deaths). While the majority of the excess deaths are officially attributed to Covid-19, the others can be explained only by lapses in treatment, multiple studies and analyses show. The impact on reduced cancer screenings alone will result in additional unnecessary deaths for years to come, simply because treatments were not started as soon as they would have been without the pandemic disruption.

Mental health crisis
The pandemic is fueling increases in depression, alcohol use, and opioid deaths. We can’t begin to predict the long-term effects of all the current stress and sorrow, but we do know our social systems were not prepared to deal with it.

One bright spot to note: The pandemic has opened many eyes to gross injustices in the U.S. health care system, in education and in mental health care, even in the effects of air pollution on respiratory diseases, especially among children, people of color, and the poor. Broadly speaking, experts say the disproportionate death toll and outsized economic effects among people of color will have long-lasting effects on the communities most affected.

Can politicians come together and address the inequities? If so, one could argue Covid-19 wasn’t all for naught, terrible as it’s been.

Meanwhile, several far less dramatic consequences of the pandemic will also change our future lives in ways we can’t yet fully appreciate. Again, not to make light of the serious consequences above, but here are just a handful of the seismic cultural and societal shifts wrought by that invisible, insidious coronavirus:

Masks forever



Category : general

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