COVID-19: The Social Implication of a Pandemic


Saturday, March 28, 2020 / 09:00AM / Damilola Peter for Proshare Finance / Header Image Credit: The Guardian


If life were predictable it would cease to be life, and be without flavour. The doubts, uncertainties, unpredictability, and the absence of assurances in the outcome of the future are the natural elements that spice life up for us as humans.


Like the rest of the world, Social Distancing is the order of the day in Nigeria as Covid-19 subsists. This has taken a toll on all of us, especially those used to outdoor engagements.


Would you have ever imagined a week passed by without you seating behind your television to watch your favourite sporting event, football especially? I bet you would argue to the moon and back if anyone ever told you the time would come so soon where you would have to wilfully ground yourself at home and wish you were out there enjoying your usual Friday night at your favourite club. 


Things are changing so fast, the "Thank God it's Friday" anthem is desperately becoming "O God let this time pass". Everything is getting grounded. Businesses are shutting down. Movements and travels are forcibly getting banned. Unimportant public gatherings are becoming prohibited. Students are being sent home. Churches, mosques and other recognized religious worship centres are getting locked down. Events and parties are getting cancelled. Marriage ceremonies, child dedication, convocations, burial ceremonies, house warming, and several other social events are being served indefinite suspensions.


The "Aso-ebis", slay mamas and Yoruba demons' outings that usually slated for every weekend are becoming less important as the threat of the Covid-19 outbreak seems not to be withdrawing anytime soon.


What seems to be of less importance and worries to the majority of the world some weeks ago has become the most discussed conversation among every gathering, as the seemingly less serious outbreak that started from a small town in China- Wuhan has now become a pain in the neck, forcing individuals, businesses and everyone to rethink, re-strategize and restructure their plans to ensure optimal or less intrusive continuity is maintained in their respective economical and sociological ventures.


In this tough time, social distancing and individual isolation seem to be the best preventive measures we all have against the deadly rapidly spreading viral disease. As better and effective this measure may prove to be, there are still a few implications that come with it. Some of them are discussed below:



Decrease in the Quality of True and Real Human Relationship

We've been created as humans to crave and long for one another. Inside of us is a deep vacuum that desires to be filled with a true human relationship. The feeling for human connection and interaction gives an inexplicable satisfaction to us as physiological and psychological beings. 


As the pandemic continues, the preventive measure of social isolating and distancing ourselves from one another will force more people to result in finding quick solace, hope, trust, and friendship in people over virtual connections. 


In a bid to not become idle, many will seize this period as an opportunity to visit some unprofitable relationships they've once left in the past like connecting with a long-time ex to just prevent boredom.


Growing a real and trustworthy relationship takes time. The near-perfect human relationship that proves to be profitable isn't one anyone can build suddenly over video chats, social media messaging or via email.


Whether it's a business, romantic or causal relationship, building a relationship requires a great deal of physical connection, engagement, and interaction. 


With a virtual connection, it might be difficult to evaluate or guarantee one's reliability, accountability, and transparency. As time goes by, connections that may end up ruining and hurting business or personal relationships would be made.


Virtual communication will ease the transmission of messages but might not be able to help build an intimate relationship. It will hasten message delivery but will not guarantee loyalty and transparency.


It is easy to maintain reliability, retention, transparency & accountability when communication is done with people physically unlike when it happens virtually.



Increased Pressure at Home

The only times we had everyone in the family together at the same time were usually during holidays. These times are usually pleasant moments and no one is particularly bothered about handling extra chores since its usually for a short period. One can easily avoid having to handle a task by going for an outing or joyfully work hand in hand with other members of the family since its only for a while.


With Covid-19 and the need for a partial or full lockdown, which has forced families to be together for a longer period than expected. The strength of relationships at the home front is tested.


Husbands and Wives who are at logger heads with one another now mandatorily need to make up or find a means to cohabitate, as there is no escape beyond your home. Men who ordinarily leave the care and duties of the home to the woman of the house, now have to lend a hand and support since there is a likelihood of the domestic help being absent at this time, or else risk her breaking down since there is now more to handle.


Parents who believe they can't deal with their children's excesses now have to reach a compromise and take time to understand their children instead of ignoring. Siblings that continue to fight over chores or seek attention over others now have to find a balance and support one another especially now that the chores are more and everyone needs each other to remain strong.



Strain on one's Health 

Imagine being confined in a room for over 30 days with little or no physical human engagement. The only difference this has from being locked up in a prison cell is that you have the keys to your door, so, you have the liberty to decide where you want to be at any moment within the premise you’ve been confined in.


Human beings are social beings, and we were made to thrive in a social gathering.


We've been designed to flourish in collaboration with other fellow humans (friends, family, colleagues, etc, living in isolation from social gathering or distancing oneself from the public is definitely going to be a new premise for many to adjust to. There's the spirit of oneness and togetherness in every human. As a human, we don't want to walk the road alone even if we've got the resources to travel a path successfully on our own.


The brain functions optimally with the motivation that is derived from the external energy (friends, family, neighbours, acquittance, and others), an energy that is birthed via direct or indirect activities of others around our premises.


Long-time social distancing and isolation, and loneliness force the brain into idleness, making the mind, less occupied and less motivated to take on productive activities.  Lack of social contact can also be a driver for depression among many people who are experiencing isolation for the very first time. Loneliness can wreak havoc to an individual's mental and physical health. Having someone to share a quick thought with or seeking advice on professional or business matters is a good advantage the physical workplace has over the remote work policy


As the pandemic continues, many people will develop both mental and physical fatigue since there are lesser activities to expend their mental and physical energies on.


While for some, the little morning walk to and from the workplace is an opportunity to exercise and keep the body in a good shape, but with this involuntary confinement, it might be an unwanted opportunity for many to add physical weights.


People who are lonely are more susceptible to illness. Researchers found out that the immune system of people who have the feeling of loneliness fights virus differently, as such they are prone to falling sick easily.



Increased Immorality and Decreased Productivity Rate 

As more people distance themselves from social networks and are made to forcefully lock themselves behind the doors of their homes, many will become idle.   


The more idle people become the higher they become prone to perpetuating evil with their unoccupied time. For some, this time will become the perfect time to engage and visit immoralities or addictions like inappropriate sexual conduct, smoking, gambling, etc., that they've once given up.  


In a bid to prevent the feeling of loneliness and becoming a potential victim of depression they will seek activities that will make them feel busy, productive and working.


With less activity, you can expect productivity rate to decrease among many who might find it difficult to sustain their concentration and commitment over a task.


There will be a huge decrease in the supply chain which might lead to an increase in the rate of theft and burgling in the community as some bad elements would seize that as an opportunity to exercise their long-time evil intents.


Should we then fail to adhere to the social distancing plea? NO!!!


Great care needs to be taken and proper plans made to ensure one doesn't fall victim to the negative aftermaths of the pandemic.


Though there are unquantifiable fears, anxiety, worries, and doubt around because of the uncertainty of the time the lockdown due to the pandemic will end. We must all exercise kindness, love, and patience with one another.


Other things we can do to mitigate this social challenge include:

  1. Develop a new routine or stick to old ones. On a daily basis, do a to-do list of things you wish to achieve and ensure to adhere to it.
  2. Take a walk and do some exercises (jogging or yoga won't be a bad idea)
  3. For families, you can develop a rooster for your house chores so one person doesn't do the chores alone.
  4. Work on projects you've always wanted time to work on. E.g. writing your own book or starting your own blog.
  5. Take an online course, learn a new language.  (Some e-learning platforms are now free. You can take advantage of this)
  6. Create or join the accountability community to ensure you stay productive. 
  7. Extend assistance to others who you may find less privilege.
  8. Educate others and intensify the awareness to equip others who may not have access to verified information on preventive tips and measure.
  9. Reach out to loved ones via a video call or regular call and keep in touch with all those you are connected to especially your colleagues, neighbours and friends.
  10. Watch less of the news if you feel you can't handle the negativity and stay positive. 


Together we will win the war against Covid-19.

Proshare Nigeria Pvt. Ltd.


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