Your Enlightenment, Freedom and Marriage

Unspoken effects of COVID-19

Yes, we are all aware that COVID-19 is rampaging our world, currently affecting about 3% of the world’s population across 210 countries disproportionately. Some countries such as the United States have over 2,000 cases per 1 million people, while countries like Ethiopia have 1 case per 1 million people.

About 3% of those infected with COVID-19 are classified as serious or in critical condition and so far 21% of those infected have died from the virus and its complications. It is apparent that the virus is having a devastating impact on health care systems and is a great strain on health care workers around the world.

Within three months (January 22 — April 22), the number of COVID-19 has increased from 580 cases to about 2.5 million, a whopping 4,320% increase. In order to curb the spread and flatten the curve, over 100 nations worldwide have instituted a partial or full lockdown. This means that many people are out of work, many are not being paid, many are not spending, trade is at a standstill, and so are economies. It is not a stretch to foretell that the GDP of almost all economies will shrink in 2020. In fact, we have heard different variations of all this too many times to count.

But what we don’t hear often is how COVID-19 is impacting education, democracies, and of course marriages.

Education

In an attempt to flatten the curve, over 100 countries around the world have closed educational institutions; leaving over 1 billion people out of schools, with many universities and examination boards postponing or cancelling exams. As such, many students face uncertainty and delays with regards to their educational futures.

Democracies

In an attempt at flattening the curve and eradicating COVID-19 in their countries, leaders in democratic countries are taking totalitarian action by signing and enacting authoritarian executive orders and laws. Such action includes implementing media gags, authorizing surveillance on citizens in order to ‘track community spread of COVID-19’, postponing protests, elections, and corruption trials. Some countries have also executed military enforcement of the lockdowns.

Marriages

These lockdowns have ushered in a new reality for many married couples who are now forced to spend nearly every waking hour with their spouses for an extended period of time ranging from 2 weeks to 16 weeks (or more!). After the Government mandated a lockdown in China for nearly 16 weeks, the statistics show a sharp increase in the divorce rate in China. Why? Well, it is hard enough being confined in one physical location for weeks on end. Add on the constant presence of a spouse, where ordinarily excursions to the outside world would provide a respite of sorts (as well as something to talk about). Throw children into the mix and you have a potential recipe for stress, resentment and a sense of suffocation.

Even with the rapid, ever-increasing cases of COVID-19, I am hopeful that this will pass. Countries such as New Zealand, Denmark, and Taiwan seem to have things under control. We know that the health care systems will never be the same and that health care workers will start being recognized as the most valuable resources countries have (and justly so). But what will be the after effect on the education of students? What damage will the crack on democratic systems cause? Will marriages that have experienced this rough patch survive? Enquiring minds want to know.

*COVID-19 numbers are as of April 22nd 2020.

References

https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/

https://en.unesco.org/covid19/educationresponse

https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/03/infographic-covid19-coronavirus-impact-global-education-health-schools/

http://theelectionnetwork.com/2020/04/03/heres-how-covid-19-is-eroding-democracy/

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-03-31/divorces-spike-in-china-after-coronavirus-quarantines