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Did COVID19 make us count our blessings?

Did COVID19 make us count our blessings?

Models use mathematical equations to estimate how many cases of a disease may occur in the coming weeks or months. They help researchers simulate real-world possibilities in a virtual environment. COVID19 has provided researchers to understand how many cases occur linked to our behaviours.

Big moments like graduations and weddings not held in the usual rituals, meetings on Zoom or Skype, loved ones dying alone, no hugs as people were told to social distance and now wear masks. No more bumping into another person in a store and automatically saying “sorry’ even if they bumped into you. Humans are inherently social creatures where memories are made from interactions. The need to belong, to enjoy the company of others which is called bonding can be seen worldwide according to cultural norms and values. Social contact is said to influence our behaviour, cognitive, and emotional responses.

With the entry of COVID19 into our world, we have been experiencing Social exclusion which is in usual societal interactions an effective form of punishment. We know that Social Networks are part of the Social Determinants of Health in Canada. It is very important as we have learned from research that support from families, friends & communities is associated with better health. Those enjoying strong social ties appear to be at low risk for psychosocial and physical impairment. The lack of social support is associated with depression and other psychological problems and in some cases even mortality. In general, social support seems to be an important moderating factor in the stress process and it’s consequences to health.

COVID 19 has made us limit ourselves to engaging in social support other than virtually. Virtual humans cannot substitute the real human experience. Research has detailed that when people do even an easy task, and another person is nearby, they tend to do that task better than when they are alone. Research than placed virtual humans and found performance in the virtual human condition was worse than in the alone condition. We have learned the value of our relationships in a new way – sometimes the very relationships taken for granted. I have often said, “Love never dies”. Sitting with myself during social distancing, I have found this to be true. Loving relationships do stay with us even when we are apart.

With the above in mind, I understand that need for missing the extra hug from a grandchild, a face to face meal with parents, or a BBQ with friends. The new normal of wearing a mask has allowed for us to socialise and meet – even if it is in units of 2 to 3 bubbles. All this has allowed me to become more grateful for having family, friends, and work colleagues. I value all of them in my life with the differences and caring that each brings to our relationships. The flowers on this page are for all of you – saying thank you for being in my life.

Perhaps, COVID19 has made us count our blessings.

Merle Jacobs

From Rangoon to London then to Canada, now home. Professor in Toronto. Research areas - health and equity, the nursing profession, Anglo Burmese culture Published in the areas of Nursing, health, racism

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