A Post-Pandemic World – The Social Impact of COVID-19 Part II

May 31, 2021

Our first article on COVID-19’s impact on social matters covered various topics like education, healthcare, crime, and more. Today we cover a series of other issues that were heavily influenced
by the pandemic. 

Xenophobia and racism

The very first cases of COVID-19 reported in Wuhan, China led to an increase in racism, xenophobia, and racism against people of Asian descent. Discrimination was reported worldwide, with acts and displays of Sinophobia most notable in the United States. 
 
Commonly, viruses and diseases are named after the geographical locations where their outbreaks first started. Many news sources associated COVID-19 with China, which led to the
development of the stigma. Derogatory phrases like “Chinese flu”, “China flu”, or “Wuhan flu” spread around the world like wildfire.
 
It didn’t help that U.S. politicians, such as former President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, used those phrases themselves. Donald Trump even went as far as referring to the
virus as ‘Kung Flu’. This led to numerous Asian communities across the U.S. experiencing countless taunts of unprecedented racism. In April 2021, President Joe Biden signed a law
against COVID-19 related hate crimes.
 
But the United States was not the only place that experienced radical racism against people of Asian ethnicities. In China itself, Wuhan natives were not welcome in other provinces. In
Chinese provinces, Zhengding, Jingxing, and Luquan of Shijiazhuang City rewarded anyone who reported those who had been to Wuhan.

Domestic violence

During the pandemic, many countries have conveyed that the number of domestic violence cases increased. The UN Secretary-General called it a shadow pandemic, stating that all types of
violence against women increased during the Great Lockdown.
 
Households came under great pressure as the stress of the pandemic caused a surge in domestic violence Many women were now trapped under the same roof as their abusers and could not
escape. 
 
According to a recent study, 1 in 4 women and 1 in 10 men experience IPV (intimate partner violence); be it psychological, physical, or sexual. IPV affects people of all races, genders, social
orientations, and socioeconomic classes, but such violence disproportionately affects ethnic communities and those faced with economic instability.

Misinformation and conspiracy theories

The pandemic resulted in a significant rise of conspiracy theories and misinformation regarding the virus’s origin, prevention, treatment, and even the vaccines that we created to combat its
spread.
 
Since the beginning of the pandemic, fake news about the spread of the virus overwhelmed social media platforms and mass media channels. Numerous journalists and ‘influencers’ have
been accused of spreading fake news about the virus, but it doesn’t stop there. Governments also spread misinformation on the virus by making false statements of death rates, testing, vaccines,
and often downplayed the severity of the situation.
 
One major conspiracy theory is that the virus originated from a leak at a lab in Wuhan. According to rumours, the virus was designed to act as a bioweapon, or an intentionally
engineered virus released by the big pharma to profit on.
 
Another popular theory was that the virus was linked to the installation of 5G mobile networks; the theory claimed that the introduction of the new technology directly caused the outbreak as a
coverup for 5G-related illnesses. A holistic practitioner purported that Africa was not as severely affected by COVID-19 because there were no 5G stations there.
 
Perhaps the most popular theory was when Donald Trump suggested using chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19, adding that the FDA has approved both for treating the
disease. The announcement led to panic buying of chloroquine that eventually led to a shortage of it for those who actually need it.

Migration

The pandemic has severely impacted migrants all around the world, including refugees and internally displaced people. Since travel restrictions were implemented relatively quickly, many
travellers were left stranded and unable to return home.
 
Refugees are one of the most vulnerable groups when it comes to public health. Those residing in camps are at a much higher risk of catching viruses like COVID-19 due to the overcrowded
living conditions that they’re exposed to. Symptoms are also more likely to have more tragic outcomes since refugees often do not have access to good medical care.
 
In addition to this, many people were stuck abroad and unable to travel back home. A lot of travellers were left with nowhere to go. ‘Stranded travellers’ had to contact their country’s embassies to figure out how to be repatriated back home.