By Yeon Woo Lee (’21)
As the US enters its ninth month of facing restrictions due to COVID-19 that has changed many lifestyles, it is impossible to say that I am enjoying time away from normal life completely. There are many things and people that I terribly miss. The longer I stay in lockdown, the more I think about what is to come in the future.
When COVID-19 is no longer a pandemic level threat to the world, I believe that some things will return to normal. But there will be some changes that occur due to the pandemic. People will be able to go outside and meet the people that they love. Society will no longer feel that they must be socially distant from one another. They will smile, laugh, and embrace those that they have not seen in a long time. And with the return to normal life, people will start paying attention to things that they have not before the pandemic. During the quarantine period, people had the opportunity to reflect on their lives and what they have lost due to the pandemic. With this reflection, many have come to understand that the small things in life matter. So when life goes to normal, I hope that people will try to enjoy the small moments when they can more often.
But there are also some issues that will arise. While it is a norm to wear masks in countries such as South Korea, this does not necessarily apply to the US. In the United States, there are some people that will continue to wear masks for a longer time and there will also be people that scoff at the sight of masks as they already do. Unfortunately, people will continue to point fingers at those that they disagree with. On the other hand, with vaccination being approved by the FDA, Americans might be more willing to vaccinate themselves, hopefully slowing down the anti vaccination movement. At the same time, there are many people that are hesitant about receiving the COVID-19 vaccinations as some feel that the FDA rushed giving its approval for public use. Along with these issues, post-truth, or the swaying of public opinion through emotions rather than objective facts, will continue to reign modern society with a larger influence. During COVID-19, too many people disregarded the opinions of doctors and researchers by questioning its existence and ignoring the immense damage that COVID-19 has brought to people. As post-truth continues on, emotions will further place itself in other debates such as climate change and in elections. This will cause further division between different groups of people, causing inner conflict to escalate within societies.
But I sincerely hope that as we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, we will try to be kinder towards one another by learning from the grief, hardships, and unity that we faced.