The social effects of the coronavirus crisis

Mar 29, 2020 by

by Carys Moseley, Christian Concern:

The ongoing crisis about how to respond to the global spread of the coronavirus is having a profound impact on all areas of public policy and culture that we deal with, and with how the country as a whole functions. Here, the potential effect on the issues that we deal with at Christian Concern is weighed up. Then there is the need to consider how the crisis exposes sinful aspects of public policy and culture and the crying need for a Christian vision of health.

Unprecedented social and economic impact

Perhaps the single biggest social change that has happened is that healthy people who have no symptoms are being told to distance themselves from others to prevent the transmission of the coronavirus. In addition, those over 70 and those with underlying health conditions that put them at greater risk are being told to isolate themselves more. This is the largest exercise in mass self-isolation in world history. When all is said and done, we may face a new wave of loneliness and fear among the most vulnerable, but also of anxious obsession among the healthy.

This is an unprecedented test of people’s willingness to co-operate to prevent illness. We are witnessing much good in terms of people co-operating under major limitations on physical contact. At the same time, it is important to admit that the purpose of this is immediate prevention and survival. No doubt many people hope that eventually life can return to how it was before. However, the major health and economic impact of the crisis will likely ensure that this is not the case. Small and medium-sized businesses are particularly vulnerable to collapse given that the government has issued guidelines saying that people are only allowed out of their homes to go shopping for essentials such as food and medicines, and to exercise once a day. Only gatherings of two people are allowed in public, and everybody must keep two metres apart. Little wonder therefore that there is now talk of the government paying up to 80% of the wages of employees unable to work due to the coronavirus crisis, up to £2,500 a month.

All of society’s sins and problems are being exposed and magnified as never before due to the much narrower scope for interaction.

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