COVID-19: Pandemic Experience

Subject: Public Health
Pages: 4
Words: 1103
Reading time:
4 min
Study level: College

It is important to note that the given essay will focus on the pandemic experience. The provided evidence and supporting literature will only come from Sydney Goins’s “Surviving Coronavirus as a Broke College Student” and Meilan Solly’s “What We Can Learn from 1918 Influenza Diaries.” One of the unique aspects of the virus is that it is an invisible and silent killer. Therefore, the pandemic experience has a particular element to it in being perceptually non-existent until its profound and deeply traumatizing ramifications emerge biologically, socially, financially, and psychologically.

Firstly, the most evident and direct commonality of any pandemic experience is its impact on human health and wellbeing. One diary records: “I had a cough that tore my very innards out when I could not suppress it. It was dark; I surely had pneumonia, and I never was so forlorn and uncomfortable” (Solly). In other words, one can see a major biological influence on a person’s health, whereas the pandemic reveals its core essence of human detriment. The use of expressive words and explicit speech in the recording is not a mastery of literature written by a fiction writer but rather a deeply impactful personal experience of an ordinary individual. The seriousness and severity of the situation during the pandemic can be understood in its full horror when it impairs one’s very vitality and life itself. The virus infects with no sound or visual demonstration, and the symptoms emerge slow enough to develop an emotional response but fast enough to showcase its danger.

Secondly, while some members of society learn about the threat directly facing the sickness in the most painful manner, a vast majority of the population observe the reality of the pandemic through a social lens. It is stated: “After this news, one of my housemates drove for 12 hours to her mom’s house in Chicago. Another gave me a few rolls of toilet paper and left with her boyfriend” (Goins). Although the writer is more concerned with illuminating the financial and long-term implications of COVID-19, one can additionally catch a sense of loneliness and the feeling of being left behind. The pandemic is an inherently lonely and isolating experience, which breaks one of the most critical characteristics of human life, such as relationships. People are social creatures, who rely on one another to survive and thrive, but the virus detrimentally impairs not only physical health but the very fabric of society. The collective need for connection, bonding, and mutual support becomes fragile and vulnerable to the virus, causing a social erosion starting from key institutions to the closest familial ties. The latter translates into the destabilization of the very social backbone holding its members together. One might even argue that it is the key reason behind the rise of violence and crime since the core functional elements of society are disrupted and diminished.

Thirdly, the pandemic experience not only brings sickness and plague but poverty, hopelessness, and despair as well. These are core elements of the financial and economic implications of the virus. Goins states, “These options are not good enough. College was supposed to give us hope for our financial future, not place us back in our parents’ houses without jobs.” Throughout the reading, it becomes evident that the core message of the text is about how the pandemic kills the chance for a bright future for the strong while massacring the weak by millions. A sense of despair and grim hopelessness are just as destructive of a form as the infection itself. Both signify the death of life, hope, and vision in their biggest manifestations. One might assume that a young person with no pre-existing conditions has nothing to be anxious about, but their vitality and energy stem from their expectations and desires to achieve their goals in life. The pandemic crushes the very essence of what makes youthfulness special. Millions of younglings all around the globe had their dreams, hopes, and faith in a better future erased due to the financial and economic pressures of the virus. In other words, the pandemic’s economic and financial effect is not solely reflected in the numbers of dollars lost but rather a sense of doom and gloom above all people’s heads. Some might learn to cope with it, but it collectively impairs the vitality and energy of social progress, which is heavily dependent on the financial security of the population.

Fourthly, the less addressed but just as important aspect of the pandemic experience involved the psychological toll it inflicts on the human psyche. One diary states: “one can stand it to see one, two or twenty men die, but to see these poor devils dropping like flies sort of gets on your nerves” (Solly). Although it is a rather extreme example for most since the majority of people are not in a position to witness such large-scale infection rates, it still reflects the underlying message. The virus kills silently and invisibly, and many do not see the sheer body count caused by it. Only a few occupations in specific fields can observe the extent of the pandemic. For example, nurses and doctors are in a similar position as the person who recorded the experience in the diary. Besides the fact that they are risking their lives to combat the virus, these professionals are experiencing the psychological toll of the pandemic. If the latter statement is true for them, it is valid for all people as well, to a lesser extent. A countless number of people know or were close to someone who lost their life during the pandemic. This effect of the pandemic experience has an element of psychological trauma exemplified by the feebleness of human life in the face of such a global threat. Just as the military professional in the diary was unable to handle thousands of people dying, so does every person exposed to death caused by COVID-19.

In conclusion, the virus is a silent and invisible threat, which makes the pandemic difficult to perceive and prepare for, but its emergence is marked with profound effects on biological, social, financial, and psychological wellbeing. The most visible and direct implication of the pandemic is the disease itself, which manifests itself unexpectedly. However, a more profound and wider impact of the pandemic is reflected in its social, psychological, and financial toll on traumatizing people. The pandemic kills hope, vitality, relationships, collective faith, and the very fabric of society itself. Therefore, one can see how the damage caused by the pandemic is incalculable in the number of lives or money lost since it infects the human body, spirit, and soul.