Pandemic paranoia might linger even after the virus is less of a threat

Things might not go back to how they were before the pandemic.

Mina Graham

Things might not go back to how they were before the pandemic.

Many people got used to being extra cautious this year. While there is always negative news shown in the media, this year is special in the sense that everyone can relate to a common issue: COVID-19. When a contagious virus spreads all over the world, paranoia also spreads.

Simple things one usually wouldn’t have to worry about are now worrisome. For example, when someone coughs in public, when someone does not have a mask on, when someone’s too close to another person, etc., there is always the thought they could potentially lead to the virus spreading, which causes slight panic or distress. 

Along with the pandemic, a continued spread of negative news such as the riots in response to the Black Lives Matter movement, the 2020 election sparked this year and the recent storming of the nation’s capitol has caused distress and disarray. Seeing people of color (specifically Black people) in the news as the victims of violent crimes this year was disturbing. 

Although the election is over, there is still doubt or uncertainty about the future of the nation, particularly as a result of insurrectionists breaching the capital. In the eyes of marginalized groups, the current and future state of our nation is frightening. Laws and policies relating to marginalized groups, and the pandemic are constantly being discussed, so to add the election and recent news on top of that, there’s no clear guarantee of success and safety in the future.

Moving forward in the coming year(s), while our situation hopefully gets better and things go back to normal, there’s no 100 percent assurance that the paranoia will completely disappear. In Montgomery County, cases are rising, and as the number of cases increases, paranoia also increases. It may take a while for both the physical and mental impacts of the pandemic to reverse. 

Remembering to prioritize physical and mental health is and will always be important. In the future, don’t be afraid to talk to loved ones for advice/support, take breaks, pace oneself, and find a hobby such as meditation, journaling, drawing, etc. to relieve stress.

Though it is also necessary for teachers and other authority figures to focus on their health, it is just as important to not add unnecessary stress on students. There is already significant stress working from home, so to punish a student for something such as submitting an assignment late or having a lower grade than their usual will add more stress rather than relieving it.

When the number of cases from the virus finally do go down, and everyone has a vaccine, it is important to remember to take things at a suitable pace. It may look normal again, but it might not feel normal. Keep wearing your masks, and stay six feet apart for your neighbor (or more if you don’t like them and are in constant competition with them).  

This year there were a lot of changes and adjustments, and while many issues might end as COVID-19 numbers go down in the future, the issue of always expecting and facing the negative lingers. But we will get out of this dark tunnel that is 2020-oop I mean 2021. 

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