If you are not financially and emotionally stressed in the current environment, then you are either very blessed or in very deep denial. None of us has seen anything like this. We can look to history, but so much has changed that very little of how they got through the last world pandemic will work for us now.
We got out of the Great Depression by getting into World War II, but if there is a World War III, I seriously doubt that there will be a planet left to live on. War is not the answer, and I am not real confident about the stimulus packages and the whopping $1,200 payout that is said to be coming. Sadly, it is likely that those who have nothing and got hurt the most will get the least.
Most regular people won't get the loans and grants that are being offered to businesses. All those who lost their jobs and perhaps their health insurance might get is a bonus of $600 a week from unemployment for a few months. This will not go real far to relieving the emotional stress financial losses caused by the pandemic. Unfortunately, I do not think that things will get back to normal this summer or even this year.
Some experts are saying that we are likely to have a resurgence of COVID-19 in the fall, and it could be much worse than it is now. We haven't even reached the peak in this country, and the toll has already been incalculable. If COVID-19 does return later this year, I hope we will be better prepared with enough hospital beds, personal protective equipment, and counseling for anyone who needs them.
Our lives may be changing forever, and the best thing we can do is continue to adapt, even though we are not yet totally sure of what is happening. The numbers are changing daily, and it is hard to estimate how the public will react once they can gather and think clearly again.
Even though the shopping malls and offices have reopened in WuHan, many people are choosing to stay in. Companies there are keeping the work-from-home option open to most employees who want it. To me, it doesn't feel like we will go back to working and playing as closely together as we did before.
I am confident that one day we will return to a new normal, but it will take a few years for the fear factor to go away. At least people are washing their hands now. Whether you were ever a germaphobe before, it's become a part of your lifestyle now. And I'm totally there.
The fallout from the emotional trauma of this pandemic will continue well beyond this year or next. Many people will suffer from PTSD, and many will be grieving for their losses for years to come. This, in turn, will have an effect on our productivity, prosperity, and personal performance.
For those who are on their own in these days of physical distancing and who miss the comfort of a partner, there could be many marriages in the future. We may also see a climb in the divorce rate, but families seem to be faring the best.
Perhaps one positive result of this life-altering event will be a common desire for greater closeness along with greater caution about how to find it. We will each discover what works best for us, but right now, let's get through this as well as we can. Stay home and stay safe.
(Dr. Barton Goldsmith, a psychotherapist in Westlake Village, Calif., is the author of "The Happy Couple: How to Make Happiness a Habit One Little Loving Thing at a Time." Follow his daily insights on Twitter at @BartonGoldsmith, or email him at Barton@bartongoldsmith.com.)
(c)2020 Barton Goldsmith
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.