COVID-19: Review, Impact and Next Steps

(Credit: Unsplash)

This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Mr. Anthony Collins is a fourth year Medical Student from UWI Mona in Kingston, Jamaica. He is affiliated with the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA), cordial partner of The Sting. The opinions expressed in this piece belong strictly to the writers and do not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the topic, nor The European Sting’s one.


As many of us will recall, COVID-19 changed our lives forever. What started out as a mysterious unknown illness quickly spread across the world and had us all on lockdown fighting for survival. Many died, still suffer from complications post infection, lost their jobs, families and other aspects of their lives that would never be the same. It also showed our resiliency as humans in the ways we adapted to the many changes. 

Covid impacted us in many ways. Socially, we were forced to use means of remote communication which for many people robbed them of the intricacies of social interaction they crave. Mentally, we endured all the isolation and horrors while our mental health deteriorated and physically our health got worse as we weren’t able to be as active as we usually are.

It also highlighted the deficiencies in our healthcare system in ways detrimental to any hope of mitigating the death toll. Many centers weren’t equipped to handle the high influx of patients nor able to manage them if they became critical. The staffing shortage and subsequent burnout which further added to the toll the pandemic had. This was overcome in some places by increasing the staff or making the hospital more technologically advanced.

The economy took many hits, for example tourism which many countries relied on as a major source of income was virtually non-existent. As a result they were forced to rely on other sectors to generate income. The education system was forced to do remote learning which for many was more convenient but others less, especially those in rural areas or without regular access to the internet. This was overcome by a hybrid approach where all involved could learn and none was left out. The working world took this hybrid approach as well and still uses it “post” pandemic. 

Now that the pandemic is “over” and herd immunity is being achieved, we have to take the next steps to ensure any possible resurgence doesn’t devastate the world and healthcare system as the initial virus and several strains after did. On an individual level, vaccination via boosters should still be taken to reduce the severity of any future infection, isolating when sick to reduce the spread and wearing masks if sick and out in public. On a national level, healthcare systems should be upgraded/maintained to manage any future outbreaks or disasters. Lastly, worldwide cooperation should continue as it did during the development and distribution of vaccines during the pandemic. This would ensure our resilience as a species to any future threats that may emerge. 

About the author

Anthony Collins is a fourth year Medical Student from UWI Mona in Kingston, Jamaica. He’s very passionate about research, forensics and pathology and therefore spends his time gaining experience in those areas. He also volunteers to help those in need and the environment. He serves as the Vice President of External Affairs of JAMSA Jamaica (a member of IFMSA), secretary for the Rotaract Club of UWI Mona and Assistant Treasurer for UWI One Life where he gains further personal and professional development as a student leader serving his fellow students.

Comments

  1. Even with COVID becoming a less prominent topic in society, it’s important for us to protect ourselves to reduce the risk of illness. Great insight shared here!

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