The World Health Organization (WHO) announced COVID-19 as a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) on January 30, 2020 (WHO, 2020)
It’s been 3 years since the world spiraled into pandemonium with lockdowns imposed across many countries. COVID-19 brought a myriad of changes in its trail, some temporary and some permanent. It changed the way we communicate, travel, care for one another. It changed the education, health, and financial systems to name a few. Its effects whether positive or negative could be felt on an individual and communal level. Just two days ago, on the 11th of April 2023, the United States declared an end to its COVID-19 emergency situation, doing so much later than other countries across the world.
We asked a few people to share with us their pandemic takeaways, lessons and what they might have done differently. Here are the responses we got:
Significant time was lost, Technology is a Win!
‘I think that sadly, youths between 20 to 24yrs old lost a significant part of their lifetime which could have been spent building lifetime friends and network. The pandemic showed the importance of technology; We are fortunate to exist in a time with a lot of technology, such that even with a lock down the economy can still run partially and doesn’t crumble to a complete halt. Same with education.
Western countries still control the world. Emergency printing of dollars in the US contributed and is still contributing significantly to global inflation.’
Loving Family time!
‘A memory of the pandemic that I’ll forever cherish was the love shared with my family. It’s amazing how we were able to go through 6 months together at home. You just had to make fun out of it. I miss the times we all came together to play a game,how we played the game for 4 hours and beyond. It felt like there was no dull moment, especially after the first 2 months after we had all adjusted to staying indoors . It was a good time because of the bond with my family, but I hope we never experience something like that again 😂’
Solitude can be bliss!
‘Thank God I enjoy my own company. A lot of people struggled to stay at home because it terrified them. I enjoy my company and staying at home for months was so easy even though I was still in my parents house.
So, my one takeaway is that people should learn to enjoy their own company.’
~ Ade, 29
Pandemic snacks was a scam!
‘Ugh. I hated the weight gain. I remember buying snacks that were meant to last for maybe a month or 2 months and I finished them in 2 weeks. I wish I had had a plan to exercise. In life there will always be disruptions, it should not be an excuse to be unhealthy. One needs to be intentional about keeping fit and staying healthy.’
~ Barbara, 30
COVID-19 is not a respecter of persons!
‘The pandemic showed the equality of human beings. Everyone was affected, everyone stayed home, everyone had to wear masks. COVID-19 was not selective of the poor or the rich.I wish I could say it felt good, but it was scary.’
~ Jane, 53
Always count your blessings!
‘It basically highlighted for me the importance of relationships and living in the moment because you never know what could come next. One moment you’re doing well with friends and family, the next moment someone is sick or has passed away.
I also got to appreciate freedom more. I’m not an outdoorsy person but the restriction on movement was tiring at times. Basically it was appreciating the little mundane things that initially seemed unimportant but should in fact be taken seriously.’
~ Ochegba, 30
Live fully without regrets!
‘I remember quite vividly the birthday outing I attended the day before lockdown started (in Lagos) and more than ever I’m glad I went out that night.
One takeaway from the pandemic is to have fun whenever you have the opportunity! Life is really short and everything can change overnight.
The next time someone invites you out, before you decline, imagine that it may be the last social event before another pandemic locks us in.
Wear make-up, wear lipstick…you may never know if you’ll be stuck with a mask for almost 3 years.’
~ Kemi, 31
A Medic’s takeaway from COVID-19. Mental health is important!
‘1. I was feeling very isolated, so in order to avoid lapsing into clinical depression or something similar, I spent more time with my colleagues after work. I also started to exercise more frequently.
- My second lesson (as a doctor) is how much we need personal contact/touch with our patients. Walking in to the wards in full Personal protective equipment (PPE) kinda depersonalizes care and it was important to try to use my voice, the tone etc. to calm patients down. It was a frightful experience for most patients, even the ones with a good prognosis.
Finally, I learnt how important it is to collect as much credible information as possible and form my own opinion on critical issues. For instance, vaccination or no vaccination. Otherwise, one can be swept along the tide of fake news. I also learned for my own sanity, to turn off the news. Media is great, but the tendency is always towards sensational news a.k.a bad news. It’s easy to assume that bad news is the norm, and this extends to social media too.’