As we faced wave after wave of Covid infection, everything altered – school, work, healthcare, holidays, even embraces – but with the UK loosening most of its remaining restrictions, is the coronavirus pandemic now over? You can now meet up with friends and family, visit restaurants, and travel with peace of mind knowing you could easily have a test at an airport, a Heathrow covid test, for instance. Finally, the light at the end of the tunnel is becoming visible. Those lights first shone in the dead of winter, when the United Kingdom became the first Western country to approve a mass vaccination program.
Nine out of ten adults have had one dose of the coronavirus vaccine in the UK, and more than seven out of ten have had both doses. According to Our World in Data, a website tracking the pandemic, the UK, along with Canada and Spain, is one of the world’s best-protected big nations. So, does this suggest we’re getting close to immunity, the point at which the virus runs out of bodies to infect because so many individuals are protected against Covid by antibodies developed from vaccination or infection? Not quite.
It appears improbable that we will ever reach a moment when we have enough global immunity for Covid to be eradicated for good. As long as the virus continues circulating in pockets in our communities or other areas of the world, we’ll be at risk of new variations evading the vaccines that are currently in use. In addition, we know that this virus is highly changeable and that it can mutate in ways that speed up its transmission, make it potentially lethal, and make it appear foreign to our immune system. Those are all very reasonable possibilities. So, while things are improving, the risks are always there.
In the coming years, the towns and countries that will manage best with Covid will be those with well-informed individuals willing to quickly adapt to such surges by reintroducing mask-wearing, mass testing, and social isolation. Thus, it appears that we are entering a new phase in which industrialized countries, at the very least, are in a far better position to cope with Covid than they were in the early days of the epidemic when an effective vaccine was a pipe dream rather than a guarantee.
Individuals’ cognitive and behavioral efforts to regulate stress are often referred to as coping. These actions are known as strategies, and they can be either conscious or unconscious. People in the United Kingdom have employed various methods to cope with the stress and changes brought on by Covid-19, as well as the constraints imposed by the lockdowns. According to data, more than three-quarters of respondents found that being in touch with family and friends online helped them manage during the first lockdown in March and April 2020.
Varying coping mechanisms can have different outcomes in terms of our happiness. For example, avoidance methods, such as withdrawing from others or watching movies, may lower short-term stress. Still, they do not address the source of the stress and might lead to feelings of hopelessness or self-blame. On the other hand, problem-solving tactics, such as those utilized in cognitive-behavioral therapies, can be beneficial in the long run.
People utilize a variety of coping mechanisms to deal with their stressors, depending on how much time, money, and social capital they have. In addition, individuals’ personality types, and the unique obstacles they confront, impact the coping style they choose. Therefore, we can help people develop measures to safeguard and promote their welfare during these challenging and unpredictable times by learning how they manage throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.
The COVID-19 Social Study also revealed how our coping approach influences our well-being. People who utilized supportive coping strategies showed a faster decrease in despair and anxiety over time than those who used emotional, avoidant, or problem-focused coping strategies during the first 21 weeks of the UK lockdown. This could be due to a variety of factors. Given the pandemic’s significant hurdles, problem-solvers and emotion-focused copers may have struggled to feel competent. They may, however, have achieved better health outcomes over a more extended period than avoidant copers.
Covid-19 and the limits imposed by the lockdown have had, and continue to have, an impact on every part of our lives. Despite how precarious the world’s situation is, life is beginning to return to pre-pandemic normalcy in nations with high vaccination rates, such as the United States and the United Kingdom. Major sporting events are reopening to sold-out crowds, indoor restaurants are hopping, people are going on maskless dates, and air travel is almost back to pre-pandemic levels.
Nonetheless, many people find the prospect of boarding a crowded airplane to see elderly relatives for a holiday filled with embraces terrifying. It’s a long cry from what we’ve become accustomed to over the last 18 months. Even if you’ve been vaccinated, it may seem impossible to return to ‘normal,’ as if nothing had happened.