Impact of the Coronavirus Pandemic on the Community

Impact on Education, Jobs, Food Insecurity, and Mental Health

The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak has posed severe problems to many sectors of the community. The spreading pandemic has led to a disruption of learning activities in many countries across the globe (Onyema et al., 2020). The governments shut down learning institutions to find the appropriate ways to combat the pandemic. Educational institutions’ closure prolongs the study period as students waste time that could have otherwise been beneficial to their studies.

There is a reduced motivation among students to learn due to the prolonged homestay. It can lead to an increased number of students dropping out as the urgency to learn dampens. Some institutions forced online learning systems to be adopted, and not every student has good access to internet services. The disruption of the virus in education may last for a more extended period than expected. The Coronavirus disease has negatively affected the education, job, and food sectors and worsened people’s mental health.

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COVID-19 has caused one of the worst job crises across the globe. Due to companies’ financial constraints, many people have lost their jobs due to being laid off by companies (Möhring et al., 2020). There is a greater risk of poverty with this unemployment, especially in developing countries. The loss of jobs worsens the stress among parents as they face financial constraints to provide for their children. Some companies have implemented the “working from home” protocol among their staff as a preventive measure against the disease spread. This protocol has reduced the interaction and unity among workers impacting their performance. However, in some “front-line” sectors, such as health, there was more demand for personnel. The recruitment of more health personnel has helped in fighting the illness.

Evidence from developing countries shows that the COVID-19 pandemic has worsened food insecurity. Many nations are experiencing an increasingly acute food shortage during the pandemic (The World Bank, 2020). The high retail prices and reduced household income demand made many families cut down on their food consumption, especially in developing countries. Many nations are experiencing inflation in the costs of foodstuffs during this period. The rising food expenses have a more considerable effect on middle and low-income earners as they spend a more significant fraction of their income on food than high-income earners.

The virus has increased the number of people experiencing food shortages across the world. The reduced food intake and poor nutrition among people pose a serious concern to their level of health (Pacholko et al., 2019). An augmented predisposition to diseases that come along with a deprived diet.

The COVID-19 disease has worsened the mental health status of many people across the world. Some measures, such as isolation, undertaken to control the pandemic can lead to increased stress and emotional disturbance among the subjects (Panchal et al., 2021). Sacking people in this pandemic has made them undergo psychological stress as they have a financial load. People have lost their loved ones as a result of COVID-19 disease. Grief has increased the psychological stress people experience during the pandemic. Four out of ten people have anxiety or depressive disorder symptoms in the USA due to the disease (Panchal et al., 2021).

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Many people have turned to drug and substance abuse due to their worsened mental health status (Lee & Chen, 2017). The prolonged study period due to school closure has caused psychological trauma among many students worldwide. The COVID-19 disease has adversely affected education, job security, food security, and people’s mental health.

Impact on Social Workers

COVID-19 virus has adversely affected social workers globally, causing instability in the health sector. Many social workers have complained that the virus has hit them and those they support negatively (Turner, 2020). The fear of being infected with the virus has negatively affected their fieldwork. Minimizing direct contact with people, especially those who have not developed a rapport, has been emphasized.

There is reduced contact with even their relatives among those social workers having preexisting conditions such as diabetes and hypertension. Panic has developed among these people as they risk contracting the deadly virus, which will worsen their preexisting health status. Research has shown that those suffering from preexisting conditions have a poor prognosis when exposed to the virus (Drager et al., 2020). This fear of losing their lives has reduced their performance in delivering quality services to those affected by the disease.

An increased level of stress among the health staff has dampened the quality of services they offer. Health staff has experienced elevated workplace stress, especially in this pandemic (Holmes et al., 2021). Some social personnel has lost their colleagues, and patients have died after being attended to by them. The continuous exposure to these daily traumatic scenes causes them to be scared and not freely help the people affected by the pandemic. Some traumatic episodes experienced have forced some to resign, thus reducing the number of health practitioners. This has significantly hindered the fight against the global pandemic, especially when they are under demand during this period. An increased burden of work during the pandemic has dramatically posed stress to social workers. This workload has made some personnel quit rather than help those suffering from the disease.

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Recommendations and Solutions

Several measures can be put in place to help reduce and solve the impact the COVID-19 disease has had on the community. Incorporating online learning into the education system can help reduce students’ study periods due to school closures. Bolatov et al. (2020) argue that using online learning in this COVID-19 crisis period can help improve mental health. According to their arguments, the students feel more relaxed attending online classes than in congested classes (Bolatov et al., 2020).

Using online classes where physical classes cannot be possible helps improve the student’s motivation to learn. The “working from home” protocol should be supported rather than laying off workers as a measure to prevent the spread of the virus (Dincer, 2021). Ensuring that people have a source of income despite the impending disaster is crucial for proper mental health. The companies offering job opportunities can expand their companies to accommodate more workers and avoid laying them off.

The provision of food by the government is one of the vital responsibilities of its people. Delivery of food relief by the government and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to the families affected by the food crisis, especially in developing countries, is crucial in solving the problem (Mukiibi, 2020). This will positively impact reducing depression among families experiencing food shortages. The government should also initiate and support programs to enable farmers to practice farming even under financial constraints due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Training should also be provided on food fortification so that the processors are well aware of improving the nutritional value of the foods they supply to the people.

The people facing psychological stress in this pandemic period should seek guidance and counseling from a professional counselor (Hannah & Jo, 2021). This will significantly reduce the disastrous consequences, such as suicidal thoughts that come with an increased stress level. The individuals whose mental health is affected negatively should talk about their feelings to other people rather than keep quiet about them.

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Social workers delivering high-quality services are detrimental to any healthy nation. Overstraining the workers should be avoided as it leads to burnout, which is one of the significant factors affecting the psychological state of social workers (Holmes et al., 2021). The governments should make an effort to employ the correct number of these social workers to avoid implicating a work burden on them. This will lead to increased motivation among the social workers and, thus, improved service delivery. The health staff undergoing mental health crises should seek professional guidance to avoid the disastrous consequences of poor mental health. Professional work leaves can help social workers to gain periods of refreshment to prevent burnout. Social workers must also have personal protective equipment (PPE) to lessen the panic of handling COVID-19 patients (Brennan et al., 2020). The diminished fear of taking care of the patients with increased safety of the social workers will improve their services.

Conclusion

The COVID-19 pandemic has adversely affected education as many schools have shut down as a preventive measure. Many people have lost their employment during this pandemic because of economic crises faced by employment firms. The pandemic has posed a threat to food security, especially in developing countries. The psychological well-being of the people has been affected due to the pandemic. Stress has increased, especially among those who have lost their jobs. Health workers have been affected mentally due to burnout they have experienced at their workplace. The government has a role to play in solving the problems faced by the people during this disease.

References

Bolatov, A. K., Seisembekov, T. Z., Askarova, A. Z., Baikanova, R. K., Smailova, D. S., & Fabbro, E. (2021). Online-learning due to COVID-19 improved mental health among medical students. Medical science educator, 31(1), 183-192. Web.

Brennan, J., Reilly, P., Cuskelly, K., & Donnelly, S. (2020). Social work, mental health, older people and COVID-19. International psychogeriatrics, 32(10), 1205-1209. Web.

Dincer, H. (2021). Management strategies to survive in a competitive environment: how to improve company performance. In Google Books. Springer Nature. Web.

Drager, L. F., Pio-Abreu, A., Lopes, R. D., & Bortolotto, L. A. (2020). Is hypertension a real risk factor for poor prognosis in the COVID-19 pandemic?. Current hypertension reports, 22(6), 1-6. Web.

Hannah, R., & Jo, D. (2021). Coping and tolerance of uncertainty: Predictors and mediators of mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic. Web.

Holmes, M. R., Rentrope, C. R., Korsch-Williams, A., & King, J. A. (2021). Impact of COVID-19 pandemic on posttraumatic stress, grief, burnout, and secondary trauma of social workers in the united states. Clinical Social Work Journal, 1-10. Web.

Lee, R. D., & Chen, J. (2017). Adverse childhood experiences, mental health, and excessive alcohol use: Examination of race/ethnicity and sex differences. Child Abuse & Neglect, 69, 40–48. Web.

Möhring, K., Naumann, E., Reifenscheid, M., Blom, A., Wenz, A., Rettig, T., Lehrer, R., Krieger, U., Juhl, S., Friedel, S., Fikel, M., & Cornesse, C. (2020). Inequality in employment during the Corona lockdown: Evidence from Germany. Web.

Mukiibi, E. (2020). COVID-19 and the state of food security in Africa. Agriculture and human values, 37(3), 627-628. Web.

Onyema, E. M., Eucheria, N. C., Obafemi, F. A., Sen, S., Atonye, F. G., Sharma, A., & Alsayed, A. O. (2020). Impact of Coronavirus pandemic on education. Journal of Education and Practice, 11(13), 108-121. Web.

Pacholko, Anthony G., Wotton, Caitlin A., & Bekar, Lane K. (2019). Poor diet, stress, and inactivity converge to form a “perfect storm” that drives Alzheimer’s disease pathogenesis. Neurodegenerative Diseases, 19(2), 60–77. Web.

Panchal, N., Kamal, R., Orgera, K., Muñana, C., & Chidambaram, P. (2021). The implications of COVID-19 for mental health and substance use. The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Web.

The World Bank. (2020). Food Security and COVID-19. World Bank. Web.

Turner, A. (2020). Coronavirus has negatively impacted practice, social workers say. Community Care. Web.

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