Looking back at the past few months and how quickly things have spiraled out of hand from one part of the globe struggling with a nationwide state of emergency due to severe health concerns to finding rest of the entire world coming to a halt is unimaginable especially looking at the timeline of it all as in just a span of a few months the world finds itself engulfed in a pandemic. All because of what we consider to be a “minute” virus: the novel coronavirus. Apart from the health issues that have arisen as a result of the spread of this virus and its impact on the general medical setting, the coronavirus has impacted the world in more ways than one could have ever imagined. And one can’t help but categorize these effects on the world within this time period to be dystopian or to the least if matters continue as such to be very close to that.
One of the very unthinkable effects of the coronavirus yet something that we have witnessed over the past few days is panic buying due to the massive outbreak of the virus. Several store aisles are found empty as a result of people hoarding living essentials within their homes. Although no apparent reason is found for such a behavior as there is no anticipation of shortages within stores but what is mostly interpreted is that people are either doing this in fear of a possible lockdown as a result of staggering number of cases reported within an area or also to avoid crowded places like supermarkets in concern of contracting or spreading the virus. Irrespective of the reason for such actions, what has come to forefront through this situation is the elitism aspect of it all. As the people who are able to afford such commodities in bulk are stocking up more than they would ever need leaving behind other people below them in the socioeconomic ladder with not enough supplies even of what they would need for the next week as they are unable to afford stocking up. This further burdens the people of this class as they are also the ones who still have to go to work everyday despite the situation and to not find the required supplies needed for basic living adds up to their difficulties in such a trying time already. With the situation of panic buying, several stores have also increased the prices of high demand products which further deteriorates the situation for the ones who aren’t as well off in terms of their socioeconomic status. This mass hysteria is also reflected in the general wave of uncertainty amongst people as to what to expect from the present situation and what the future holds for all the faces of the world.
Furthermore, the mass hysteria takes shape as a worldwide fear in the form of people avoiding other people and staying within the confines of their homes in an attempt to practice “social distancing” as a guideline provided by CDC to prevent the spread of COVID-19. However, this limiting ourselves within our homes not only has the potential of affecting one’s mental health in forms of depression or anxiety because we being social beings are so used to interacting with one another that such behavior is more of self-isolation for most people which does not go well with our inherent nature. But then we don’t really have much of a choice than to follow the rules because this is the only way we can save all the lives and flatten the curve. And having to go against inherent nature of humans to protect mankind as much as it might be ironic it is dystopian as well. Having to limit people within their homes, has led to several schools and businesses being temporarily closed down which has laid off several people from work without it actually being on a “paid leave” leaving them with no proper means with which they could provide for their families while for others like cab drivers it means lesser work as people have stopped leaving their houses. Overall, all of this is proving to be a huge blow to the economy as everything that runs the economy is coming to the halt. While none of this holds greater importance than the lives of millions of people throughout various countries of the world, still in the longer run this would and could lead to further dystopian conditions as if the situation continues as it presently is then the countries are going to find it hard to recover from such a huge stroke.
Another dystopian aspect to this whole situation is the xenophobia and more properly termed “racism” arising from it. Since the initial cases mostly emerging from this virus were mainly located within China, it has resulted in extreme cases of hatred and rude behavior towards people of Asian descent particularly that of Chinese throughout the world. While “social distancing” or taking precautionary measures of staying away from other people is a more universal guideline provided to protect everyone from contracting and the spread of virus, people have been seen using it in a derogatory sense against such people to the extent where people are terming it as the “Chinese virus” when this virus clearly already has a scientific and medical term for it.
Moreover, this situation has also led to the marginalization of certain groups of people whether it be elderly people who have the greatest risk associated to contract the virus and then the harsher consequences of such, as a result most of them who are already within nursing homes find themselves more isolated then ever with people trying to protect the elderly by limiting their interaction with them. Furthermore, people with no healthcare or any form of health insurance find themselves stranded in such situations as to how they would provide for the medical facilities they might require in case they contract the virus or even to get themselves tested to make sure if they are healthy in case they feel like they are experiencing symptoms similar to the ones enlisted as that associated to the coronavirus which is again dystopian as this reflects the grave conditions of health disparities different groups of people have to face.
While most of the people are following rules and guidelines to ensure the safety of everyone, there are still some careless people out there who are not taking the required measures hanging around and having parties even when they don’t really need to risking the lives of others which again is dystopian in the way of how there are still some irresponsible people who are selfish enough to only care about something as long as it affects themselves and if does not then they don’t care how their actions affect others. Lastly, one of the gravest possibilities of this ongoing pandemic could be that if cases rise to an overwhelming level then the hospitals could run out of resources and then the hospitals would have a hard time accommodating everyone in need of immediate medical help resulting in the medical departments having to make some grave decisions about their future discourse which if god forbid we ever come to would be surely be something very close to a dystopian world.
However, there is always hope across the tunnel as the China has significantly curbed its cases over the course of the past few days and hopefully rest of world will be able to tackle this situation as well and in a similar or maybe even better fashion. Thus far we can observes gradual yet strict measures being taken by most of the governments and if all of us just keep following guidelines and stay in tight for just some more time hopefully we will be on the other side of it soon enough before it gets any more or actually dystopian.