02 Jul What does our new normal look like post-pandemic?
Originally posted by NBNA as a part of our partnership to combat COVID-19.
In a time where nothing is normal, finding a “new normal” can feel daunting. The past and future waves of COVID-19 continue to present barriers to returning to our past definition of normal. When COVID-19 was first discovered, it shocked the world with the immediate mortality and morbidity of the virus. We are just beginning to witness the effects of the second, third, and fourth waves of COVID-19 and how we adjust to a “new normal.”
To address COVID-19, we shifted resources to care for those affected by the virus, and many began to postpone preventative needs and ignore the growing threat of chronic diseases. We also saw a major increase in rates of mental illnesses, psychological traumas, and burnout from lack of human interaction and stressors from the pandemic.
So what will our new normal look like?
- Selfless Social Distancing: As more and more people receive a COVID-19 vaccine, we look forward to being able to embrace our friends and loved ones. However, many individuals do not plan to leave their pandemic habits far behind. Even if we are vaccinated, it is important to continue our safe practices of hand washing, sanitizing, and mask wearing. Social distancing will eventually stop being enforced and rather grow to become a part of our culture. Introducing selfless social distancing following the COVID-19 pandemic protects all of us.
- Accepting Telehealth/Teletherapy: The concept of telehealth has been discussed for years but could not have successfully taken off without out the restrictions of the pandemic. Seemingly overnight it jumped from 10% of health visits taking place virtually to over 95% due to COVID-19. As more individuals moved their work, social life, and health online we saw reductions in the number of individuals who feared technology in tandem with an increase in individuals who became more comfortable with using technology. As thisshift started to occur, doctors, nurses and therapists were able to more easily find solutions and help their patients. Medical professionals and patients realized quickly that not every headache, concern, or question required an in-person trip to the doctor’s office.
- More Prepared for Future Health Crises: Although the world was not prepared for the widespread COVID-19 pandemic, it has inspired changes in infectious disease investments, approaches to drug development, and regulatory policies that could result in lasting innovation and help mitigate the impact of future pandemics. National governments and the pharmaceutical industry were posed with significant opportunities and challenges, and both have stepped up to find innovative solutions for the current pandemic. However, the global community must learn from this experience by continuing to invest in the research and development infrastructure necessary to combat infectious diseases and build pathways that can expedite the containment of future pandemics.
- Better Ways to Work Together: Initially the move to virtual boardrooms and finding a space at home to focus was difficult, but it opened doors for the future of business operations. As businesses and communities increase their uses of virtual platforms for communication it allows for our relationships to become even more dynamic. We are now able to collaborate with coworkers in other cities, states, and even other countries at just the touch of a button and in ways we never have before. Riding on the success of this past year of virtual communication, we look to hybrid and remote positions to accommodate employees.
To create our new normal, we must work to help those affected mentally and physically by the pandemic and its outward effects. Our new normal presents us with hope of a better equipped future with more understanding of work environments, a greater appreciation for in person relationships, and better preparedness for future health crises. The normal we all crave from before is no longer attainable, but we shouldn’t desire it to be. Over the last year, we have cultivated an environment of understanding and commitment to serve each other which allows for amazing ideas and solutions to be created.
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