Covid Casualties That Will Haunt Us Forever
Things big and small that will never be the same post-pandemic
With a fierce winter storm bearing down on the Northeast, Connecticut doctor Craig Canapari, MD, was asked by his kids: Will tomorrow be a snow day? “Sadly they will be disappointed,” Canapari tweeted. “One is already doing online school on Thursday. The other will be.”
This arguably innocuous annoyance struck me as telling of the countless things that are being disrupted by the pandemic — small pleasures and larger ways of life we’ve long taken for granted but which will never be the same.
Death is the ultimate horrific outcome of the Covid-19 pandemic, of course, and without meaning to minimize the pain and sadness left behind by the more than 300,000 departed Americans and 1.6 million deaths worldwide, I got to thinking about the many other ways Covid has, and will, irrevocably change the lives of so many people, of society as a whole, for years and even generations to come.
I’ll get to the lesser things below. But first, there are several truly distressing and harrowing casualties of Covid-19 that will play out for years:
Long-haul physical effects
We have no clue yet just how devastating Covid-19 is for those who survive it. Already, we do know that thousands of people, young and old, are suffering physical pain and mental distress — including memory and concentration problems — months after they were declared Covid-free. Sadly, it’s appearing ever more likely that some of these long-haul symptoms could be lifetime afflictions.
It will be many months and possibly years before we can grasp the full scope of disastrous financial effects on tens of millions of Americans who’ve lost their jobs or had their incomes slashed, or might soon. Already the devastation clear for countless families. Across the country, children are going hungry and parents are overwhelming food pantries like never in recent memory. Missed rent and homeowner payments are piling up, and broad wealth reduction will create hardship for millions of families — holes are being dug that will sink some people for the rest of their lives.