Quarantine's Effects on Society
By Katherine Avera
Quarantine has been a time to reflect. Time to reflect on our mental and physical health. Time to reflect on the people we have surrounded ourselves with. Time to reflect on the world we live in and how we can change it for the better. Living in this “new normal”, quarantine has been challenging for many people, but it has also changed others for the better.
The Mental Health Foundation did an experiment from January to September of 2020 to see how mental health has affected people of all ages during the quarantine.
The studies show that youth from ages 11-17 were more likely than any other age group to have moderate to severe symptoms of anxiety or depression. Dr. Sunil Kapoor, a pulmonologist explains that “There are two people in the hospital due to respiratory issues, five people are in the hospital due to a suicide attempt.” Eating disorders have also bloomed this year. Studies have shown that there has been a 78% increase in eating disorders throughout COVID. Social media has had a huge impact on eating disorders, many influencers are encouraging eating less. Another thing that triggers eating disorders is seeing people with “perfect bodies” and wanting to have that same body, so the mind instantly goes to not eating. The National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA) has also said that “eating disorders thrive in isolation”. Both NEDA and the Mental Health Foundation have suggested many ways to help reduce your symptoms of depression, anxiety, and eating disorders. NEDA has offered many programs to help you open up about your eating disorder and how you can get help. For depression and anxiety, exercising, eating well, taking a break, talking about your feelings, and keeping in touch with friends through facetime or zoom help a lot. Quarantine has also been a great time to focus on your physical health as well. Youtube fitness influencers, such as Chloe Ting, Lilly Sabri, MadFit, etc, have had a huge increase in subscribers from January 2020 to the start of lockdown.
Lockdown has had many bad effects on society, but there has also been some good that has come out of it. Quarantine has had a huge effect on the social justice movement. After the deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, and Breonna Taylor, society has now come together to advocate for the equitable treatment of all colored people such as BLM and the Grassroots Project. Protests have been formed, petitions have been signed, and posts have been reposted.
Women's rights have also been voiced throughout the world. Movements, like the #MeToo movement, have taken to social media and to the streets, educating others about sexual assault issues, to those who were previously blinded by the problems in our community by the stress of external sources such as school or work. One of the biggest gender inequality is gender pay and hiring. Women are more likely to be denied a job or paid less while doing the same job as their male coworkers. The United Nations did a study saying that “70% of women's employment and informal jobs are the first to disappear in times of economic uncertainty.” Another major issue is sexual assault. The #MeToo movement, created by activist Tarana Burke, provides information, and healing programs for everyone. Feminist, a social media influence account, has shared and created many posts that have encouraged and educated many people about rights for not only women but the LBGTQ+ community and the Black Lives Matter movement.
Quarantine has resulted in positive and negative outcomes, mental health has been on a decline, physical wellness has become mainstream on social media platforms, there has been a resurgence on social justice movements, and there is still a current fight to end this virus. Once the world is no longer in lockdown, will the world have changed for the better or the worse?