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Will things be different once self-isolation ends?

Illustration: Carter Klassen · The Sentry

People will need time to recover from the traumatic experience

by Tommy Clift

History repeats itself. Yes—that may be true. Humanity seems to be locked in a recurrent cycle. Whether that cycle be in a grand sense—one of war, recession, or crisis—or in the everyday motions. Humans are creatures of habit and repetition.

But when repetition ceases—when suddenly the common occurrences of shaking the hands of a stranger in a coffee shop, hugging friends and family, or going out on a weekend comes to an abrupt stop—it’s cause for reevaluation. And quarantine has certainly given many the time for just that. With the habits of many halted, people will undoubtedly interact differently with one another when the orders are lifted.

The world is in a dark place, and many countries like the U.S. are in for an even darker chapter—financially speaking—once quarantine ends. Human contact will be the social savior of sanity. Whether united through the struggle of finding a job through a recession, or simply by the ability to go out to a restaurant and be surrounded by a group of strangers, the shift back into a lively society will be invigorating, enlivening, and unifying for many.

On the opposite side of the spectrum, some people will never look at health and the transmission of illness the same. And people facing that impact will likely stray from usual social activities and contact for a while. Most events such as concerts and festivals are cancelled for the remainder of 2020 in much of the world, so even when people begin to go wherever they want, there are still likely be no large-scale gatherings. And for some, the time away from the social public will be the breath of self-reflection needed to charge after their lives and aspirations.

The hoi polloi may eventually return to their habits—taking for granted the simple gesture of a hug—but when the world finds itself fully reopened, there will be change. There will be a genuine appreciation of what has been missing, and a chance to be alive and together as countries charge into yet another uncertain time.

Social interacting will go back to it was

by Kaia Stallings

It’s natural to think that life after COVID-19 will be vastly different than life before it. People should be more cautious of their germs, and healthcare workers should be treated with higher respect than they ever have been in the past. Yet it has become increasingly more difficult to believe that citizens in America will do what it takes in order to ensure the virus doesn’t come back a second time. The usage of masks will continue to dwindle, social distancing rules will be followed less. There are so many people eager to get back to the “normal” that society had before the COVID-19 pandemic happened, and this desire will take continue to take precedent over any measures put in place to keep others safe.

The protests that have begun to pop up across the country is a good gauge of how social interaction will remain the same after the pandemic. Hundreds showed up at the Colorado state capitol in April to protest having the stay at home order. In Olympia Washington there was a protest that over 2,000 people attended. Americans are craving to go back to how things were, and the moment that the government allows it, crowds will flood back into public spaces.

It is also difficult to ignore the obvious surge in racism towards Asians. The blaming for the virus can potentially affect the way that people interact with Asian P.O.C. in an everyday setting. It’s un-encouraging to think that racial issues can’t be put aside during a time this difficult and confusing. Behavior like this makes it extremely difficult to believe that anything is going to change once all of this is over. In order to get the change that is needed, people are going to have to start behaving for more than just themselves.

Ultimately, it’s possible that society will try to go back to how life was before the pandemic started, without realizing that this might not be possible right away. The current mentality that a large portion of Americans share will put the country right back where it was before, with no growth to show for everything that has happened in the last few months.

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