Life after Covid: will our world ever be the same?

From cities, to science, to politics, six Observer writers assess how a post-pandemic world will emerge into a new normal

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Here are some things that the pandemic changed. It accustomed some people – those whose jobs allowed it – to remote working . It highlighted the importance of adequate living space and access to the outdoors. It renewed, through their absence, an appreciation of social contact and large gatherings. It showed up mass daily commuting for the dehumanising drain on energy and resources that it is.

These changes do not add up to the abandonment of big cities and offices predicted by more excitable commentaries, not a future of rural bubbles and of tumbleweed blowing through the City of London, but a welcome shift in priorities. There will always be millions who want to live in cities and millions who want to live in towns and villages, but there are also those for whom these are borderline decisions, with pros and cons on each side.

These decisions might be based on life changes, such as having children. If you no longer have to go to an office daily, you can live further from the city in which it is placed. If the magic spell of the big city, which kept people in the tiny and expensive flats that now look so inadequate, is broken, then you might consider living in cheaper, more relaxed locations that hadn’t occurred to you before. Those ex-urbanites, still valuing social contact and public life, might seek towns and small cities rather than a lonely cottage in a field.

Such changes could help to address, without the pouring of any concrete or the laying of a brick, the imbalance in the nation’s housing that was at breaking point before Covid. On the one hand there are overheated residential markets in London, Bristol, Manchester, Edinburgh and elsewhere. On the other there are towns and small cities with good housing stock, an inherited infrastructure of parks and civic buildings and easy access to beautiful countryside, which through their location suffer from underinvestment and depopulation.

This is not to say that no new homes should be built, nor that there won’t be problems with such a shift. It could simply be gentrification, if done wrong, at a national scale. And this vision assumes that Covid passes, and that it is not one of a future series of equally vicious viruses. But there is at least a chance that the travails of 2020 could lead to a saner approach to the places where we live and work. Rowan Moore, Observer architecture critic


The first kiss my baby niece blew me was bittersweet, because like so many pandemic interactions it happened not in person but on camera. Covid means that big chunks of her life have only been seen on a phone screen as she grows into a toddler. And I’m one of the lucky ones: I haven’t had to say goodbye to someone on FaceTime or break the worst news to someone over the phone.

If you live by yourself, you’ve made do without human touch for months on end; if you’re crammed into a small space with your partner, kids and your parents, you may have spent weeks craving time and space not encroached upon by other human beings. Totally different experiences of the same social earthquake: surely they cannot but profoundly change us for the long term?

I’m not so sure. Lockdown, then not-lockdown, then lockdown again have served as a reminder of just how adaptable we are as human beings. I was amazed at how quickly the idea of socialising with friends indoors became a fuzzy memory, then the norm, then distant again. The emotions I felt so acutely back in March – the sharp fear Covid could steal my parents, the communal endeavour of clapping for our carers every Thursday night – soon faded into a new normal, impossible to sustain even though many of the realities have barely changed.

A couple hugging.

The pandemic has underlined the extent to which digital interaction is no substitute for the real thing. In some ways, I’m more in touch with people than ever thanks to the numerous WhatsApp groups that revived themselves into a constant source of company. But tapping away in a couple of group chats while absent-mindedly watching the latest Netflix offering doesn’t come close to the wonderful feeling of hugging a friend, or spending three hours giving someone you haven’t seen for ages your undivided attention over a meal, or of having a conversation based not just on words but physical cues. I doubt the pandemic will seed a long-term distaste for crowds; if anything, I suspect that, if all goes well with the vaccine rollout, summer 2021 will see a crop of riotous street parties and carnivals.

But a return to life as usual will not mask the emotional toll Covid will have had on so many people. People who suffer from anxiety and depression; women in abusive relationships ; children experiencing abuse or neglect at the hands of their parents: they have had it the worst, and their experiences of isolation and loneliness during lockdown could have consequences for their personal relationships that will not magically disappear with a vaccine.

And that is before you factor in the added strain of the intense financial hardship so many are being forced to endure. As a society, recovering from Covid is about much more than antibodies: it cannot happen without support for those who have experienced its worst financial and mental health impacts. Sonia Sodha, the Observer’s chief leader writer

Britain has had an uncomfortable year in its battle to contain Covid. Failures to test, trace and isolate infected individuals allowed grim numbers of deaths to accumulate while deficiencies in the acquisition of stocks of Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) left countless health workers exposed to danger and illness. However, these deficiencies have been balanced by the manner and striking speed with which our scientists have turned away from existing projects in order to focus their attentions on ridding us of Covid. Their work has earned global praise for its swiftness and precision.

“The Brits are on course to save the world,” wrote leading US economist Tyler Cowen in Bloomberg Opinion about our scientists efforts last summer while the journal Science quoted leading international researchers who have heaped praise on British anti-Covid work. Science in the UK is perceived, correctly, to have done well in facing up to the pandemic.

A perfect example is provided by the UK’s Recovery trial, a drug-testing programme involving more than 3,000 doctors and nurses who worked with more than 12,000 Covid patients in hundreds of hospitals across the nation – from the Western Isles to Truro and from Derry to King’s Lynn. Set up within a few days of the pandemic reaching the UK, and carried out in intensive care units crammed with seriously ill people, Recovery revealed that one cheap inflammation treatment could save the lives of seriously ill Covid patients while two much-touted therapies were shown to be useless at tackling the disease.

No other country has come close to matching these achievements. “We had the people with the right skills and a willingness to drop everything else and contribute to the effort,” says one of Recovery’s founders, Martin Landray of Oxford University. “That made all the difference.” In a nation which had only recently reviled, openly, the concept of expertise, scientists like Landray have restored the reputation of the wise and the informed.

Fiona Fox, director of the Science Media Centre, also points to the willingness of our scientists to communicate. “Time after time, we have asked for comments from leading researchers, epidemiologists and vaccine experts on breaking Covid stories, and despite being inundated with work, they have taken the time to provide clear analyses that have helped to make sense of rapidly changing developments,” she says. “It has been extraordinary.”

And of course, the arrival of three effective vaccines against a disease that was unknown less than a year ago has only further enhanced the image of the scientist. Yes, they may be a bit geeky sometimes, but they have done a lot to help us win the battle against Covid. Robin McKie, Observer Science Editor

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

It may not feel like it at the moment, admittedly. But if this pandemic echoes other defining events in our recent history, from the 9/11 terror attacks to the 2008-09 banking crash, it will leave the political landscape utterly transformed in some respects yet wearily familiar in others.

Last week’s spending review , spelling out how the cost of battling Covid will shape national life for years to come, was a classic example. A public sector pay freeze, plus benefit cuts next April? Well, we’ve been there before; to many families it will feel like austerity all over again.

What’s different this time, however, is that Boris Johnson insists there’ll be no return to austerity-style spending cuts. Instead, taxes will rise. If he actually goes through with threats to target second-home owners or higher earners’ pensions, expect some mutiny in Tory ranks. (The bitter joke among Tory MPs is that they’re implementing more of Jeremy Corbyn’s manifesto than Corbyn ever will.) But the door to a long overdue debate about taxing wealth, as well as income, is at least now open.

New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern.

The pandemic also seems to be changing what people look for in a leader. The last recession pushed angry, despairing voters towards populists with easy answers; make America great again, take back control. But Covid has been a brutal reminder that in life-and-death situations, competence is everything. Joe Biden isn’t wildly exciting but at least he doesn’t speculate aloud about the merits of drinking bleach. From New Zealand’s Jacinda Ardern to Germany’s Angela Merkel and Scotland’s Nicola Sturgeon, the leaders whose reputations have been enhanced by this crisis tend to be pragmatists and consensus-seekers, not excitable culture warriors. Keir Starmer’s rising poll ratings suggest a hunger for steady-as-she-goes leadership in Britain too.

Optimists will hope that this collective near-death experience brings a renewed political focus on what actually makes life worth living, from supportive communities to the beauty of a natural world that sustained many through lockdown. Pessimists, however, will worry that calls to “build back better”, or reset society along fairer and greener lines, could be an early casualty of a hard recession that leaves people focussed purely on economic survival.

For it would be naive not to expect a backlash against all of this. Nigel Farage is already trying to whip one up via his new anti-lockdown party , targeting voters angry at having freedoms curtailed. But if the last crash unleashed an era of radicalism and revolt, it’s not impossible this one will leave people craving a quiet life. After such turmoil, don’t underestimate the longing to get back to normal, even if the normal we once knew is gone. Gaby Hinsliff, Guardian columnist

We know that the spaces from which “culture” emerges won’t look the same after 2020 as they did before. Many theatres, bookshops, music venues and galleries won’t survive the catastrophe of shutdown, and if they do emerge it will be with diminished resources. But what about the attitude and the focus of creativity. Will it be shadowed by the pandemic post-vaccine or will it celebrate liberation?

Portrait of a young TS Eliot.

History suggests both. The terrible mortality, social distancing and economic hardship resulting from the 1918-19 Spanish flu epidemic that followed the war were shaping forces in both the doom-laden experiments of modernism and the high hedonism of the jazz age. The Waste Land and the Charleston emerged within months of each other. TS Eliot wrote much of the former while suffering from the after-effects of the influenza, haunted, as his wife Vivienne noted, by the fear that as a result of the virus, “his mind is not acting as it used to do”. Certainly, that poem’s most memorable lines, with their stress on the mass gathering, read more pointedly from our current vantage point: “Under the brown fog of a winter dawn,/ A crowd flowed over London Bridge, so many,/ I had not thought death had undone so many./ Sighs, short and infrequent, were exhaled,/ And each man fixed his eyes before his feet.”

But, contrarily, the spirit of the post-pandemic age was equally alive in the bathtub-gin excitement of the Cotton Club, and the rarefied decadence of the Bright Young Things: raucous celebrations of seize-the-day freedoms after the misery of war and virus.

Not much literature or music that directly responds to the current pandemic has yet emerged. Zadie Smith’s brief book of essays , Intimations , hazarded something of what that response might look and sound like. In a memorable phrase, she described the events of this year as “the global humbling”. That moment when we collectively realised that the confident certainties of what we used to call “normal life” were only ever a heartbeat away from unknown threats – and that the US, Smith’s adopted home, having led the world in many things, was now leading the world in death.

Will such experience engender a new and deepening age of anxiety in the books we read and the films we watch? No doubt that apprehension of apocalypse, of environmental emergency, that draws us to The Road or to Chernobyl will become more insistent. But as Eliot also noted, humankind “cannot bear very much reality”. After this year in which the young have been denied so many of their rites of passage – chances to sing, dance, drink or love – we can surely hope for a post-viral creative outpouring of all those things that make us most happy to be alive. Tim Adams, Observer writer

”Imagine there’s no commuting, it’s easy if you try”, is a popular refrain in discussions of the post-Covid world of work predicting the imminent demise of the office. Sometimes it’s combined with the claim that low-earning hospitality and leisure jobs that have dried up mid-pandemic won’t be coming back and so shouldn’t get support now.

These different predictions are likely to be wrong for the same reason: they pay too much attention to crystal balls, and not enough to rear-view mirrors. Yes, the pandemic itself has meant big changes to the world of work. It has changed where some people (generally higher earners) work while hitting the ability of many lower earners to work at all. But imagining a world without lockdowns is best done by focusing on those pandemic-driven trends that reinforce, rather than run against, patterns visible pre-crisis .

A man sitting on his bed working on a laptop.

So, expect the pandemic’s turbo-charging of retail’s online shift (with Arcadia’s likely administration the latest example) to continue – there will be fewer cashiers and more delivery drivers. But don’t believe the hype on the decline of hospitality and leisure. Workers in those sectors are twice as likely to have lost their jobs or been furloughed as the pandemic has left us spending more on buying things than going out, but the long-term trend is the opposite: hotels and restaurants accounted for a fifth of the pre-pandemic employment surge.

Working from home (or living in the office, as it can feel like) has been the big change for professional Britain. But history warns against the idea that the office is finished. Only one in 20 of us worked entirely remotely pre-crisis. But three times that number worked at home at least one day a week, a trend that was rapidly growing. Hybrid home/office working is the future. But be careful about assuming this transforms Britain’s disgracefully big economic gaps: some will benefit from more choice about where to live but offices in poorer areas, rather than those in central London, may be the ones that end up empty. And remember, we’re only talking about a fraction of the workforce here. Post-Covid, waiters and cleaners won’t be doing their jobs from their spare room or kitchen table.

As well as predicting the future, we should be trying to shape it. Higher pay and more security for the low paid workers who faced the biggest health and economic risks from this crisis would be a good place to start. Torsten Bell, chief executive of the Resolution Foundation

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Read these 12 moving essays about life during coronavirus

Artists, novelists, critics, and essayists are writing the first draft of history.

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essay on life after covid 19 300 words

The world is grappling with an invisible, deadly enemy, trying to understand how to live with the threat posed by a virus . For some writers, the only way forward is to put pen to paper, trying to conceptualize and document what it feels like to continue living as countries are under lockdown and regular life seems to have ground to a halt.

So as the coronavirus pandemic has stretched around the world, it’s sparked a crop of diary entries and essays that describe how life has changed. Novelists, critics, artists, and journalists have put words to the feelings many are experiencing. The result is a first draft of how we’ll someday remember this time, filled with uncertainty and pain and fear as well as small moments of hope and humanity.

At the New York Review of Books, Ali Bhutto writes that in Karachi, Pakistan, the government-imposed curfew due to the virus is “eerily reminiscent of past military clampdowns”:

Beneath the quiet calm lies a sense that society has been unhinged and that the usual rules no longer apply. Small groups of pedestrians look on from the shadows, like an audience watching a spectacle slowly unfolding. People pause on street corners and in the shade of trees, under the watchful gaze of the paramilitary forces and the police.

His essay concludes with the sobering note that “in the minds of many, Covid-19 is just another life-threatening hazard in a city that stumbles from one crisis to another.”

Writing from Chattanooga, novelist Jamie Quatro documents the mixed ways her neighbors have been responding to the threat, and the frustration of conflicting direction, or no direction at all, from local, state, and federal leaders:

Whiplash, trying to keep up with who’s ordering what. We’re already experiencing enough chaos without this back-and-forth. Why didn’t the federal government issue a nationwide shelter-in-place at the get-go, the way other countries did? What happens when one state’s shelter-in-place ends, while others continue? Do states still under quarantine close their borders? We are still one nation, not fifty individual countries. Right?

Award-winning photojournalist Alessio Mamo, quarantined with his partner Marta in Sicily after she tested positive for the virus, accompanies his photographs in the Guardian of their confinement with a reflection on being confined :

The doctors asked me to take a second test, but again I tested negative. Perhaps I’m immune? The days dragged on in my apartment, in black and white, like my photos. Sometimes we tried to smile, imagining that I was asymptomatic, because I was the virus. Our smiles seemed to bring good news. My mother left hospital, but I won’t be able to see her for weeks. Marta started breathing well again, and so did I. I would have liked to photograph my country in the midst of this emergency, the battles that the doctors wage on the frontline, the hospitals pushed to their limits, Italy on its knees fighting an invisible enemy. That enemy, a day in March, knocked on my door instead.

In the New York Times Magazine, deputy editor Jessica Lustig writes with devastating clarity about her family’s life in Brooklyn while her husband battled the virus, weeks before most people began taking the threat seriously:

At the door of the clinic, we stand looking out at two older women chatting outside the doorway, oblivious. Do I wave them away? Call out that they should get far away, go home, wash their hands, stay inside? Instead we just stand there, awkwardly, until they move on. Only then do we step outside to begin the long three-block walk home. I point out the early magnolia, the forsythia. T says he is cold. The untrimmed hairs on his neck, under his beard, are white. The few people walking past us on the sidewalk don’t know that we are visitors from the future. A vision, a premonition, a walking visitation. This will be them: Either T, in the mask, or — if they’re lucky — me, tending to him.

Essayist Leslie Jamison writes in the New York Review of Books about being shut away alone in her New York City apartment with her 2-year-old daughter since she became sick:

The virus. Its sinewy, intimate name. What does it feel like in my body today? Shivering under blankets. A hot itch behind the eyes. Three sweatshirts in the middle of the day. My daughter trying to pull another blanket over my body with her tiny arms. An ache in the muscles that somehow makes it hard to lie still. This loss of taste has become a kind of sensory quarantine. It’s as if the quarantine keeps inching closer and closer to my insides. First I lost the touch of other bodies; then I lost the air; now I’ve lost the taste of bananas. Nothing about any of these losses is particularly unique. I’ve made a schedule so I won’t go insane with the toddler. Five days ago, I wrote Walk/Adventure! on it, next to a cut-out illustration of a tiger—as if we’d see tigers on our walks. It was good to keep possibility alive.

At Literary Hub, novelist Heidi Pitlor writes about the elastic nature of time during her family’s quarantine in Massachusetts:

During a shutdown, the things that mark our days—commuting to work, sending our kids to school, having a drink with friends—vanish and time takes on a flat, seamless quality. Without some self-imposed structure, it’s easy to feel a little untethered. A friend recently posted on Facebook: “For those who have lost track, today is Blursday the fortyteenth of Maprilay.” ... Giving shape to time is especially important now, when the future is so shapeless. We do not know whether the virus will continue to rage for weeks or months or, lord help us, on and off for years. We do not know when we will feel safe again. And so many of us, minus those who are gifted at compartmentalization or denial, remain largely captive to fear. We may stay this way if we do not create at least the illusion of movement in our lives, our long days spent with ourselves or partners or families.

Novelist Lauren Groff writes at the New York Review of Books about trying to escape the prison of her fears while sequestered at home in Gainesville, Florida:

Some people have imaginations sparked only by what they can see; I blame this blinkered empiricism for the parks overwhelmed with people, the bars, until a few nights ago, thickly thronged. My imagination is the opposite. I fear everything invisible to me. From the enclosure of my house, I am afraid of the suffering that isn’t present before me, the people running out of money and food or drowning in the fluid in their lungs, the deaths of health-care workers now growing ill while performing their duties. I fear the federal government, which the right wing has so—intentionally—weakened that not only is it insufficient to help its people, it is actively standing in help’s way. I fear we won’t sufficiently punish the right. I fear leaving the house and spreading the disease. I fear what this time of fear is doing to my children, their imaginations, and their souls.

At ArtForum , Berlin-based critic and writer Kristian Vistrup Madsen reflects on martinis, melancholia, and Finnish artist Jaakko Pallasvuo’s 2018 graphic novel Retreat , in which three young people exile themselves in the woods:

In melancholia, the shape of what is ending, and its temporality, is sprawling and incomprehensible. The ambivalence makes it hard to bear. The world of Retreat is rendered in lush pink and purple watercolors, which dissolve into wild and messy abstractions. In apocalypse, the divisions established in genesis bleed back out. My own Corona-retreat is similarly soft, color-field like, each day a blurred succession of quarantinis, YouTube–yoga, and televized press conferences. As restrictions mount, so does abstraction. For now, I’m still rooting for love to save the world.

At the Paris Review , Matt Levin writes about reading Virginia Woolf’s novel The Waves during quarantine:

A retreat, a quarantine, a sickness—they simultaneously distort and clarify, curtail and expand. It is an ideal state in which to read literature with a reputation for difficulty and inaccessibility, those hermetic books shorn of the handholds of conventional plot or characterization or description. A novel like Virginia Woolf’s The Waves is perfect for the state of interiority induced by quarantine—a story of three men and three women, meeting after the death of a mutual friend, told entirely in the overlapping internal monologues of the six, interspersed only with sections of pure, achingly beautiful descriptions of the natural world, a day’s procession and recession of light and waves. The novel is, in my mind’s eye, a perfectly spherical object. It is translucent and shimmering and infinitely fragile, prone to shatter at the slightest disturbance. It is not a book that can be read in snatches on the subway—it demands total absorption. Though it revels in a stark emotional nakedness, the book remains aloof, remote in its own deep self-absorption.

In an essay for the Financial Times, novelist Arundhati Roy writes with anger about Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s anemic response to the threat, but also offers a glimmer of hope for the future:

Historically, pandemics have forced humans to break with the past and imagine their world anew. This one is no different. It is a portal, a gateway between one world and the next. We can choose to walk through it, dragging the carcasses of our prejudice and hatred, our avarice, our data banks and dead ideas, our dead rivers and smoky skies behind us. Or we can walk through lightly, with little luggage, ready to imagine another world. And ready to fight for it.

From Boston, Nora Caplan-Bricker writes in The Point about the strange contraction of space under quarantine, in which a friend in Beirut is as close as the one around the corner in the same city:

It’s a nice illusion—nice to feel like we’re in it together, even if my real world has shrunk to one person, my husband, who sits with his laptop in the other room. It’s nice in the same way as reading those essays that reframe social distancing as solidarity. “We must begin to see the negative space as clearly as the positive, to know what we don’t do is also brilliant and full of love,” the poet Anne Boyer wrote on March 10th, the day that Massachusetts declared a state of emergency. If you squint, you could almost make sense of this quarantine as an effort to flatten, along with the curve, the distinctions we make between our bonds with others. Right now, I care for my neighbor in the same way I demonstrate love for my mother: in all instances, I stay away. And in moments this month, I have loved strangers with an intensity that is new to me. On March 14th, the Saturday night after the end of life as we knew it, I went out with my dog and found the street silent: no lines for restaurants, no children on bicycles, no couples strolling with little cups of ice cream. It had taken the combined will of thousands of people to deliver such a sudden and complete emptiness. I felt so grateful, and so bereft.

And on his own website, musician and artist David Byrne writes about rediscovering the value of working for collective good , saying that “what is happening now is an opportunity to learn how to change our behavior”:

In emergencies, citizens can suddenly cooperate and collaborate. Change can happen. We’re going to need to work together as the effects of climate change ramp up. In order for capitalism to survive in any form, we will have to be a little more socialist. Here is an opportunity for us to see things differently — to see that we really are all connected — and adjust our behavior accordingly. Are we willing to do this? Is this moment an opportunity to see how truly interdependent we all are? To live in a world that is different and better than the one we live in now? We might be too far down the road to test every asymptomatic person, but a change in our mindsets, in how we view our neighbors, could lay the groundwork for the collective action we’ll need to deal with other global crises. The time to see how connected we all are is now.

The portrait these writers paint of a world under quarantine is multifaceted. Our worlds have contracted to the confines of our homes, and yet in some ways we’re more connected than ever to one another. We feel fear and boredom, anger and gratitude, frustration and strange peace. Uncertainty drives us to find metaphors and images that will let us wrap our minds around what is happening.

Yet there’s no single “what” that is happening. Everyone is contending with the pandemic and its effects from different places and in different ways. Reading others’ experiences — even the most frightening ones — can help alleviate the loneliness and dread, a little, and remind us that what we’re going through is both unique and shared by all.

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How to Write About Coronavirus in a College Essay

Students can share how they navigated life during the coronavirus pandemic in a full-length essay or an optional supplement.

Writing About COVID-19 in College Essays

Serious disabled woman concentrating on her work she sitting at her workplace and working on computer at office

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Experts say students should be honest and not limit themselves to merely their experiences with the pandemic.

The global impact of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, means colleges and prospective students alike are in for an admissions cycle like no other. Both face unprecedented challenges and questions as they grapple with their respective futures amid the ongoing fallout of the pandemic.

Colleges must examine applicants without the aid of standardized test scores for many – a factor that prompted many schools to go test-optional for now . Even grades, a significant component of a college application, may be hard to interpret with some high schools adopting pass-fail classes last spring due to the pandemic. Major college admissions factors are suddenly skewed.

"I can't help but think other (admissions) factors are going to matter more," says Ethan Sawyer, founder of the College Essay Guy, a website that offers free and paid essay-writing resources.

College essays and letters of recommendation , Sawyer says, are likely to carry more weight than ever in this admissions cycle. And many essays will likely focus on how the pandemic shaped students' lives throughout an often tumultuous 2020.

But before writing a college essay focused on the coronavirus, students should explore whether it's the best topic for them.

Writing About COVID-19 for a College Application

Much of daily life has been colored by the coronavirus. Virtual learning is the norm at many colleges and high schools, many extracurriculars have vanished and social lives have stalled for students complying with measures to stop the spread of COVID-19.

"For some young people, the pandemic took away what they envisioned as their senior year," says Robert Alexander, dean of admissions, financial aid and enrollment management at the University of Rochester in New York. "Maybe that's a spot on a varsity athletic team or the lead role in the fall play. And it's OK for them to mourn what should have been and what they feel like they lost, but more important is how are they making the most of the opportunities they do have?"

That question, Alexander says, is what colleges want answered if students choose to address COVID-19 in their college essay.

But the question of whether a student should write about the coronavirus is tricky. The answer depends largely on the student.

"In general, I don't think students should write about COVID-19 in their main personal statement for their application," Robin Miller, master college admissions counselor at IvyWise, a college counseling company, wrote in an email.

"Certainly, there may be exceptions to this based on a student's individual experience, but since the personal essay is the main place in the application where the student can really allow their voice to be heard and share insight into who they are as an individual, there are likely many other topics they can choose to write about that are more distinctive and unique than COVID-19," Miller says.

Opinions among admissions experts vary on whether to write about the likely popular topic of the pandemic.

"If your essay communicates something positive, unique, and compelling about you in an interesting and eloquent way, go for it," Carolyn Pippen, principal college admissions counselor at IvyWise, wrote in an email. She adds that students shouldn't be dissuaded from writing about a topic merely because it's common, noting that "topics are bound to repeat, no matter how hard we try to avoid it."

Above all, she urges honesty.

"If your experience within the context of the pandemic has been truly unique, then write about that experience, and the standing out will take care of itself," Pippen says. "If your experience has been generally the same as most other students in your context, then trying to find a unique angle can easily cross the line into exploiting a tragedy, or at least appearing as though you have."

But focusing entirely on the pandemic can limit a student to a single story and narrow who they are in an application, Sawyer says. "There are so many wonderful possibilities for what you can say about yourself outside of your experience within the pandemic."

He notes that passions, strengths, career interests and personal identity are among the multitude of essay topic options available to applicants and encourages them to probe their values to help determine the topic that matters most to them – and write about it.

That doesn't mean the pandemic experience has to be ignored if applicants feel the need to write about it.

Writing About Coronavirus in Main and Supplemental Essays

Students can choose to write a full-length college essay on the coronavirus or summarize their experience in a shorter form.

To help students explain how the pandemic affected them, The Common App has added an optional section to address this topic. Applicants have 250 words to describe their pandemic experience and the personal and academic impact of COVID-19.

"That's not a trick question, and there's no right or wrong answer," Alexander says. Colleges want to know, he adds, how students navigated the pandemic, how they prioritized their time, what responsibilities they took on and what they learned along the way.

If students can distill all of the above information into 250 words, there's likely no need to write about it in a full-length college essay, experts say. And applicants whose lives were not heavily altered by the pandemic may even choose to skip the optional COVID-19 question.

"This space is best used to discuss hardship and/or significant challenges that the student and/or the student's family experienced as a result of COVID-19 and how they have responded to those difficulties," Miller notes. Using the section to acknowledge a lack of impact, she adds, "could be perceived as trite and lacking insight, despite the good intentions of the applicant."

To guard against this lack of awareness, Sawyer encourages students to tap someone they trust to review their writing , whether it's the 250-word Common App response or the full-length essay.

Experts tend to agree that the short-form approach to this as an essay topic works better, but there are exceptions. And if a student does have a coronavirus story that he or she feels must be told, Alexander encourages the writer to be authentic in the essay.

"My advice for an essay about COVID-19 is the same as my advice about an essay for any topic – and that is, don't write what you think we want to read or hear," Alexander says. "Write what really changed you and that story that now is yours and yours alone to tell."

Sawyer urges students to ask themselves, "What's the sentence that only I can write?" He also encourages students to remember that the pandemic is only a chapter of their lives and not the whole book.

Miller, who cautions against writing a full-length essay on the coronavirus, says that if students choose to do so they should have a conversation with their high school counselor about whether that's the right move. And if students choose to proceed with COVID-19 as a topic, she says they need to be clear, detailed and insightful about what they learned and how they adapted along the way.

"Approaching the essay in this manner will provide important balance while demonstrating personal growth and vulnerability," Miller says.

Pippen encourages students to remember that they are in an unprecedented time for college admissions.

"It is important to keep in mind with all of these (admission) factors that no colleges have ever had to consider them this way in the selection process, if at all," Pippen says. "They have had very little time to calibrate their evaluations of different application components within their offices, let alone across institutions. This means that colleges will all be handling the admissions process a little bit differently, and their approaches may even evolve over the course of the admissions cycle."

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Elizabeth Lesser Shares How She Lifted Herself Out of Pandemic Despair

The cofounder of the Omega Institute admits that even as a teacher of mindfulness, sometimes, she is her own worst student.


When it became apparent that a virus was spreading around the globe, my first reaction was one of disbelief: We’ll surely eradicate this before it turns into a pandemic! Soon enough my disbelief morphed into fear, and then horror and grief for those who were sick and dying in Asia, Europe, and slowly, steadily...everywhere. Along with those feelings came a strange kind of optimism, a faith that we all might learn something important. Like when I watched videos of people in Italy under lockdown standing on their balconies holding candles and singing songs of hope into the darkened streets. Or as travel ceased and traffic stood still and the world got a little quieter, the air a little cleaner—I could almost hear the trees breathing sighs of relief.

In the early spring of 2020, when the pandemic took hold here in the United States and life as we knew it ground to a halt, I wondered, even with the trauma and loss, could this be the Great Slowdown we needed? People retweeted the quote “Mother Nature has sent us to our rooms.” Could that message portend a teachable moment? Maybe doing less, and doing with less, would reveal the value of enough instead of chasing after more, more, more. Maybe now we’d start to truly appreciate the people whose work keeps us alive and well: the farmers, truckers, grocery baggers; the staff who work in our hospitals; the home health aides who care for our parents; the daycare instructors and school teachers who safeguard our children’s future. And maybe, just maybe, the pandemic would finally confirm for us thick-headed humans this plain truth: What happens to even just one of us affects all of us.

My grand optimism began to waver as the weeks of isolation became months and Covid-19 cases doubled, then tripled. Schools closed. Hospitals ran out of masks and ventilators; millions of people got sick, and hundreds of thousands died. People lost their jobs, their homes, their loved ones, their mental health, their way of life. Almost no individual, community, or business was untouched by fear or pain or loss, including my own nonprofit center, which for 40 years had been teaching people to meditate, to heal, to spin trauma into the gold of growth.

.css-meat1u:before{margin-bottom:1.2rem;height:2.25rem;content:'“';display:block;font-size:4.375rem;line-height:1.1;font-family:Juana,Juana-weight300-roboto,Juana-weight300-local,Georgia,Times,Serif;font-weight:300;} .css-mn32pc{font-family:Juana,Juana-weight300-upcase-roboto,Juana-weight300-upcase-local,Georgia,Times,Serif;font-size:1.625rem;font-weight:300;letter-spacing:0.0075rem;line-height:1.2;margin:0rem;text-transform:uppercase;}@media(max-width: 64rem){.css-mn32pc{font-size:2.25rem;line-height:1;}}@media(min-width: 48rem){.css-mn32pc{font-size:2.375rem;line-height:1;}}@media(min-width: 64rem){.css-mn32pc{font-size:2.75rem;line-height:1;}}.css-mn32pc b,.css-mn32pc strong{font-family:inherit;font-weight:bold;}.css-mn32pc em,.css-mn32pc i{font-style:italic;font-family:inherit;} “What happens to even just one of us affects all of us.”

As 2020 came to a close, I began to wonder if my dream of the Great Slowdown was becoming a sorrowful nightmare: the Great Meltdown. As a teacher of mindfulness, sometimes I am my own worst student; life during lockdown tested me greatly, and watching the news or doom-scrolling through social media didn’t help. I began to flunk out of inner-peace school, started reacting to stress in decidedly unenlightened ways, yelling at the TV or exploding in anger during interminable Zoom meetings.

I gave in to despair when we had to let go of another staff member at work, or when I couldn’t see my kids, who live in far-flung places. I had stopped accessing my “balcony brain”—that part of myself that can calmly observe any situation, pause before reacting, and make wise, compassionate decisions. I was spending more time in my “basement brain,” heeding the vigilant, volatile caveman within. Eventually, my burnout caught up with me, and I landed in the emergency room with a gastrointestinal issue. It was then that my darling husband suggested I try some of my own medicine—the stuff I have written several books about. “You know,” he said gently, “things like meditation and exercise. Things for your trauma and grief. Things for your soul.” Duh!

lesser cassandra

So here’s what I did. I turned to the words of some of my greatest teachers. I keep a basket of their quotes on my desk. I’m always adding to it—beautiful lines from poets, mind-blowing bits from scientists, motivation from activists, quiet wisdom from spiritual leaders. I often choose one to guide me through the day. This time, I decided that whatever quote my hand touched first would serve as my GPS back into what I call the four landscapes of the human journey: mind, body, heart, and soul.

The first words I picked gave me goosebumps: “Today’s mighty oak is yesterday’s nut that held its ground.” The phrase is attributed to Rosa Parks, and I felt as though she had reached down from the heavens to remind me that everything I needed was already within me. I could be that little acorn again and reroot and rise strong. I knew how to do that. I had done so before in other difficult times. I had held my ground in the shattered aftermath of divorce and come out the other side a stronger and more empathetic person. I had rooted myself in my inner strength when I was my sister’s bone marrow donor. And when we lost her, I found in those ashes the true heart of friendship. Here I was again, trying, like so many of us, to reemerge from the pandemic with lessons learned, inner strength, and something of value to offer.

I followed Mrs. Parks’ guidance and went back to the tools that never fail me: Meditation to activate my “balcony brain” and lift the veil from my clouded mind. Exercise to reclaim my body and physical vitality. The simple prayer of putting my hand on my heart and feeling flooded with forgiveness and tenderness, hope and gratitude. Walks in nature and dips back into my favorite spiritual texts to reconnect with my all-knowing soul. As I felt my strength returning, I was reminded how despair and negativity can spread like a virus, too. When they do, taking the soul’s vaster view and being an agent of uplift feels almost revolutionary. Doing so is an act of sanity and an offering of healing.

Historically, pandemics have jump-started innovation or they have slid humanity backwards into oppression. This is our era; we get to choose. Life after Covid-19 does not have to be a Great Meltdown, or a Great Slowdown. Maybe, just maybe, it will be a Great Wake-up—a global event that breaks us open and waters the seeds of our best selves. Because each one of us can be that acorn, holding our ground, lifting our sights, and, together, becoming a forest of mighty oaks.

preview for Oprah Reveals the Summer 2021 O Quarterly

Elizabeth Lesser is the author of Cassandra Speaks: When Women Are the Storytellers, The Human Story Changes as well as the bestselling Broken Open: How Difficult Times Can Help Us Grow and Marrow: Love, Loss & What Matters Most . She is the cofounder of Omega Institute, has given two popular TED talks, and is a member of Oprah Winfrey’s Super Soul 100.

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I Thought We’d Learned Nothing From the Pandemic. I Wasn’t Seeing the Full Picture

essay on life after covid 19 300 words

M y first home had a back door that opened to a concrete patio with a giant crack down the middle. When my sister and I played, I made sure to stay on the same side of the divide as her, just in case. The 1988 film The Land Before Time was one of the first movies I ever saw, and the image of the earth splintering into pieces planted its roots in my brain. I believed that, even in my own backyard, I could easily become the tiny Triceratops separated from her family, on the other side of the chasm, as everything crumbled into chaos.

Some 30 years later, I marvel at the eerie, unexpected ways that cartoonish nightmare came to life – not just for me and my family, but for all of us. The landscape was already covered in fissures well before COVID-19 made its way across the planet, but the pandemic applied pressure, and the cracks broke wide open, separating us from each other physically and ideologically. Under the weight of the crisis, we scattered and landed on such different patches of earth we could barely see each other’s faces, even when we squinted. We disagreed viciously with each other, about how to respond, but also about what was true.

Recently, someone asked me if we’ve learned anything from the pandemic, and my first thought was a flat no. Nothing. There was a time when I thought it would be the very thing to draw us together and catapult us – as a capital “S” Society – into a kinder future. It’s surreal to remember those early days when people rallied together, sewing masks for health care workers during critical shortages and gathering on balconies in cities from Dallas to New York City to clap and sing songs like “Yellow Submarine.” It felt like a giant lightning bolt shot across the sky, and for one breath, we all saw something that had been hidden in the dark – the inherent vulnerability in being human or maybe our inescapable connectedness .

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But it turns out, it was just a flash. The goodwill vanished as quickly as it appeared. A couple of years later, people feel lied to, abandoned, and all on their own. I’ve felt my own curiosity shrinking, my willingness to reach out waning , my ability to keep my hands open dwindling. I look out across the landscape and see selfishness and rage, burnt earth and so many dead bodies. Game over. We lost. And if we’ve already lost, why try?

Still, the question kept nagging me. I wondered, am I seeing the full picture? What happens when we focus not on the collective society but at one face, one story at a time? I’m not asking for a bow to minimize the suffering – a pretty flourish to put on top and make the whole thing “worth it.” Yuck. That’s not what we need. But I wondered about deep, quiet growth. The kind we feel in our bodies, relationships, homes, places of work, neighborhoods.

Like a walkie-talkie message sent to my allies on the ground, I posted a call on my Instagram. What do you see? What do you hear? What feels possible? Is there life out here? Sprouting up among the rubble? I heard human voices calling back – reports of life, personal and specific. I heard one story at a time – stories of grief and distrust, fury and disappointment. Also gratitude. Discovery. Determination.

Among the most prevalent were the stories of self-revelation. Almost as if machines were given the chance to live as humans, people described blossoming into fuller selves. They listened to their bodies’ cues, recognized their desires and comforts, tuned into their gut instincts, and honored the intuition they hadn’t realized belonged to them. Alex, a writer and fellow disabled parent, found the freedom to explore a fuller version of herself in the privacy the pandemic provided. “The way I dress, the way I love, and the way I carry myself have both shrunk and expanded,” she shared. “I don’t love myself very well with an audience.” Without the daily ritual of trying to pass as “normal” in public, Tamar, a queer mom in the Netherlands, realized she’s autistic. “I think the pandemic helped me to recognize the mask,” she wrote. “Not that unmasking is easy now. But at least I know it’s there.” In a time of widespread suffering that none of us could solve on our own, many tended to our internal wounds and misalignments, large and small, and found clarity.

Read More: A Tool for Staying Grounded in This Era of Constant Uncertainty

I wonder if this flourishing of self-awareness is at least partially responsible for the life alterations people pursued. The pandemic broke open our personal notions of work and pushed us to reevaluate things like time and money. Lucy, a disabled writer in the U.K., made the hard decision to leave her job as a journalist covering Westminster to write freelance about her beloved disability community. “This work feels important in a way nothing else has ever felt,” she wrote. “I don’t think I’d have realized this was what I should be doing without the pandemic.” And she wasn’t alone – many people changed jobs , moved, learned new skills and hobbies, became politically engaged.

Perhaps more than any other shifts, people described a significant reassessment of their relationships. They set boundaries, said no, had challenging conversations. They also reconnected, fell in love, and learned to trust. Jeanne, a quilter in Indiana, got to know relatives she wouldn’t have connected with if lockdowns hadn’t prompted weekly family Zooms. “We are all over the map as regards to our belief systems,” she emphasized, “but it is possible to love people you don’t see eye to eye with on every issue.” Anna, an anti-violence advocate in Maine, learned she could trust her new marriage: “Life was not a honeymoon. But we still chose to turn to each other with kindness and curiosity.” So many bonds forged and broken, strengthened and strained.

Instead of relying on default relationships or institutional structures, widespread recalibrations allowed for going off script and fortifying smaller communities. Mara from Idyllwild, Calif., described the tangible plan for care enacted in her town. “We started a mutual-aid group at the beginning of the pandemic,” she wrote, “and it grew so quickly before we knew it we were feeding 400 of the 4000 residents.” She didn’t pretend the conditions were ideal. In fact, she expressed immense frustration with our collective response to the pandemic. Even so, the local group rallied and continues to offer assistance to their community with help from donations and volunteers (many of whom were originally on the receiving end of support). “I’ve learned that people thrive when they feel their connection to others,” she wrote. Clare, a teacher from the U.K., voiced similar conviction as she described a giant scarf she’s woven out of ribbons, each representing a single person. The scarf is “a collection of stories, moments and wisdom we are sharing with each other,” she wrote. It now stretches well over 1,000 feet.

A few hours into reading the comments, I lay back on my bed, phone held against my chest. The room was quiet, but my internal world was lighting up with firefly flickers. What felt different? Surely part of it was receiving personal accounts of deep-rooted growth. And also, there was something to the mere act of asking and listening. Maybe it connected me to humans before battle cries. Maybe it was the chance to be in conversation with others who were also trying to understand – what is happening to us? Underneath it all, an undeniable thread remained; I saw people peering into the mess and narrating their findings onto the shared frequency. Every comment was like a flare into the sky. I’m here! And if the sky is full of flares, we aren’t alone.

I recognized my own pandemic discoveries – some minor, others massive. Like washing off thick eyeliner and mascara every night is more effort than it’s worth; I can transform the mundane into the magical with a bedsheet, a movie projector, and twinkle lights; my paralyzed body can mother an infant in ways I’d never seen modeled for me. I remembered disappointing, bewildering conversations within my own family of origin and our imperfect attempts to remain close while also seeing things so differently. I realized that every time I get the weekly invite to my virtual “Find the Mumsies” call, with a tiny group of moms living hundreds of miles apart, I’m being welcomed into a pocket of unexpected community. Even though we’ve never been in one room all together, I’ve felt an uncommon kind of solace in their now-familiar faces.

Hope is a slippery thing. I desperately want to hold onto it, but everywhere I look there are real, weighty reasons to despair. The pandemic marks a stretch on the timeline that tangles with a teetering democracy, a deteriorating planet , the loss of human rights that once felt unshakable . When the world is falling apart Land Before Time style, it can feel trite, sniffing out the beauty – useless, firing off flares to anyone looking for signs of life. But, while I’m under no delusions that if we just keep trudging forward we’ll find our own oasis of waterfalls and grassy meadows glistening in the sunshine beneath a heavenly chorus, I wonder if trivializing small acts of beauty, connection, and hope actually cuts us off from resources essential to our survival. The group of abandoned dinosaurs were keeping each other alive and making each other laugh well before they made it to their fantasy ending.

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After the monarch butterfly went on the endangered-species list, my friend and fellow writer Hannah Soyer sent me wildflower seeds to plant in my yard. A simple act of big hope – that I will actually plant them, that they will grow, that a monarch butterfly will receive nourishment from whatever blossoms are able to push their way through the dirt. There are so many ways that could fail. But maybe the outcome wasn’t exactly the point. Maybe hope is the dogged insistence – the stubborn defiance – to continue cultivating moments of beauty regardless. There is value in the planting apart from the harvest.

I can’t point out a single collective lesson from the pandemic. It’s hard to see any great “we.” Still, I see the faces in my moms’ group, making pancakes for their kids and popping on between strings of meetings while we try to figure out how to raise these small people in this chaotic world. I think of my friends on Instagram tending to the selves they discovered when no one was watching and the scarf of ribbons stretching the length of more than three football fields. I remember my family of three, holding hands on the way up the ramp to the library. These bits of growth and rings of support might not be loud or right on the surface, but that’s not the same thing as nothing. If we only cared about the bottom-line defeats or sweeping successes of the big picture, we’d never plant flowers at all.

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A Year After Coronavirus: An Inclusive ‘New Normal’

essay on life after covid 19 300 words

Six months into a new decade, 2020 has already been earmarked as ‘the worst’ year in the 21st century. The novel coronavirus has given rise to a global pandemic that has destabilized most institutional settings. While we live in times when humankind possesses the most advanced science and technology, a virus invisible to the naked eye has massively disrupted economies, healthcare, and education systems worldwide. This should serve as a reminder that as we keep making progress in science and research, humanity will continue to face challenges in the future, and it is upon us to prioritize those issues that are most relevant in the 21st century.

Even amidst the pandemic, Space X, an American aerospace manufacturer, managed to become the first private company to send humans to space. While this is a tremendous achievement and prepares humanity for a sustainable future, I feel there is a need to introspect the challenges that we are already facing. On the one hand, we seem to be preparing beyond the 21st century. On the other hand, heightened nationalism, increasing violence against marginalized communities and multidimensional inequalities across all sectors continue to act as barriers to growth for most individuals across the globe. COVID-19 has reinforced these multifaceted economic, social and cultural inequalities wherein those in situations of vulnerability have found it increasingly difficult to get quality medical attention, access to quality education, and have witnessed increased domestic violence while being confined to their homes. 

Given the coronavirus’s current situation, some households have also had time to introspect on gender roles and stereotypes. For instance, women are expected to carry out unpaid care work like cooking, cleaning, and looking after the family. There is no valid reason to believe that women ought to carry out these activities, and men have no role in contributing to household chores. With men having shared household chores during the lockdown period, it gives hope that they will realize the burden that women have been bearing for past decades and will continue sharing responsibilities. However, it would be naïve to believe that gender discrimination could be tackled so easily, and men would give up on their decades' old habits within a couple of months. Thus, during and after the pandemic, there is an urgent need to sensitize households on the importance of gender equality and social cohesion.

Moving forward, developing quality healthcare systems that are affordable and accessible to all should be the primary objective for all governments. This can be done by increasing expenditure towards health and education and simultaneously reducing expenditure on defence equipment where the latter mainly gives rise to an idea that countries need to be prepared for violence. There is substantial evidence that increased investment in health and education is beneficial in the long-term and can potentially build the basic foundation of a country. 

If it can be established that usage of nuclear weapons, violence and war are not solutions to any problem, governments (like, for example, Costa Rica) could move towards disarmament of weapons and do their part in building a more peaceful planet that is sustainable for the future. This would further promote global citizenship wherein nationality, race, gender, caste, and other categories, are just mere variables and they do not become identities of individuals that restrict their thought process. The aim should be to build responsible citizens who play an active role in their society and work collectively in helping develop a planet that is well-governed, inclusive, and environmentally sustainable.

 ‘A year after Coronavirus’ is still an unknown, so I think that our immediate focus should be to tackle the complex problems that have emerged from the pandemic so that we make the year after coronavirus one which highlights recovery and acts as a pathway to fresh beginnings. While there is little to gain from such a fatal cause, it is vital that we also use it to make the ‘new normal’ in favour of the environment and ensure that no one is left behind.   

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Seven short essays about life during the pandemic

The boston book festival's at home community writing project invites area residents to describe their experiences during this unprecedented time..

essay on life after covid 19 300 words

My alarm sounds at 8:15 a.m. I open my eyes and take a deep breath. I wiggle my toes and move my legs. I do this religiously every morning. Today, marks day 74 of staying at home.

My mornings are filled with reading biblical scripture, meditation, breathing in the scents of a hanging eucalyptus branch in the shower, and making tea before I log into my computer to work. After an hour-and-a-half Zoom meeting, I decided to take a long walk to the post office and grab a fresh bouquet of burnt orange ranunculus flowers. I embrace the warm sun beaming on my face. I feel joy. I feel at peace.


I enter my apartment and excessively wash my hands and face. I pour a glass of iced kombucha. I sit at my table and look at the text message on my phone. My coworker writes that she is thinking of me during this difficult time. She must be referring to the Amy Cooper incident. I learn shortly that she is not.

I Google Minneapolis and see his name: George Floyd. And just like that a simple and beautiful day transitions into a day of sorrow.

Nakia Hill, Boston

It was a wobbly, yet solemn little procession: three masked mourners and a canine. Beginning in Kenmore Square, at David and Sue Horner’s condo, it proceeded up Commonwealth Avenue Mall.

S. Sue Horner died on Good Friday, April 10, in the Year of the Virus. Sue did not die of the virus but her parting was hemmed by it: no gatherings to mark the passing of this splendid human being.

David devised a send-off nevertheless. On April 23rd, accompanied by his daughter and son-in-law, he set out for Old South Church. David led, bearing the urn. His daughter came next, holding her phone aloft, speaker on, through which her brother in Illinois played the bagpipes for the length of the procession, its soaring thrum infusing the Mall. Her husband came last with Melon, their golden retriever.

I unlocked the empty church and led the procession into the columbarium. David drew the urn from its velvet cover, revealing a golden vessel inset with incandescent tiles. We lifted the urn into the niche, prayed, recited Psalm 23, and shared some words.

It was far too small for the luminous “Dr. Sue”, but what we could manage in the Year of the Virus.

Nancy S. Taylor, Boston

On April 26, 2020, our household was a bustling home for four people. Our two sons, ages 18 and 22, have a lot of energy. We are among the lucky ones. I can work remotely. Our food and shelter are not at risk.

As I write this a week later, it is much quieter here.

On April 27, our older son, an EMT, transported a COVID-19 patient to the ER. He left home to protect my delicate health and became ill with the virus a week later.

On April 29, my husband’s 95-year-old father had a stroke. My husband left immediately to be with his 90-year-old mother near New York City and is now preparing for his father’s discharge from the hospital. Rehab people will come to the house; going to a facility would be too dangerous.

My husband just called me to describe today’s hospital visit. The doctors had warned that although his father had regained the ability to speak, he could only repeat what was said to him.

“It’s me,” said my husband.

“It’s me,” said my father-in-law.

“I love you,” said my husband.

“I love you,” said my father-in-law.

“Sooooooooo much,” said my father-in-law.

Lucia Thompson, Wayland

Would racism exist if we were blind?

I felt his eyes bore into me as I walked through the grocery store. At first, I thought nothing of it. With the angst in the air attributable to COVID, I understood the anxiety-provoking nature of feeling as though your 6-foot bubble had burst. So, I ignored him and maintained my distance. But he persisted, glaring at my face, squinting to see who I was underneath the mask. This time I looked back, when he yelled, in my mother tongue, for me to go back to my country.

In shock, I just laughed. How could he tell what I was under my mask? Or see anything through the sunglasses he was wearing inside? It baffled me. I laughed at the irony that he would use my own language against me, that he knew enough to guess where I was from in some version of culturally competent racism. I laughed because dealing with the truth behind that comment generated a sadness in me that was too much to handle. If not now, then when will we be together?

So I ask again, would racism exist if we were blind?

Faizah Shareef, Boston

My Family is “Out” There

But I am “in” here. Life is different now “in” Assisted Living since the deadly COVID-19 arrived. Now the staff, employees, and all 100 residents have our temperatures taken daily. Everyone else, including my family, is “out” there. People like the hairdresser are really missed — with long straight hair and masks, we don’t even recognize ourselves.

Since mid-March we are in quarantine “in” our rooms with meals served. Activities are practically non-existent. We can sit on the back patio 6 feet apart, wearing masks, do exercises there, chat, and walk nearby. Nothing inside. Hopefully June will improve.

My family is “out” there — somewhere! Most are working from home (or Montana). Hopefully an August wedding will happen, but unfortunately, I may still be “in” here.

From my window I wave to my son “out” there. Recently, when my daughter visited, I opened the window “in” my second-floor room and could see and hear her perfectly “out” there. Next time she will bring a chair so we can have an “in” and “out” conversation all day, or until we run out of words.

Barbara Anderson, Raynham

My boyfriend Marcial lives in Boston, and I live in New York City. We had been doing the long-distance thing pretty successfully until coronavirus hit. In mid-March, I was furloughed from my temp job, Marcial began working remotely, and New York started shutting down. I went to Boston to stay with Marcial.

We are opposites in many ways, but we share a love of food. The kitchen has been the center of quarantine life —and also quarantine problems.

Marcial and I have gone from eating out and cooking/grocery shopping for each other during our periodic visits to cooking/grocery shopping with each other all the time. We’ve argued over things like the proper way to make rice and what greens to buy for salad. Our habits are deeply rooted in our upbringing and individual cultures (Filipino immigrant and American-born Chinese, hence the strong rice opinions).

On top of the mundane issues, we’ve also dealt with a flooded kitchen (resulting in cockroaches) and a mandoline accident leading to an ER visit. Marcial and I have spent quarantine navigating how to handle the unexpected and how to integrate our lifestyles. We’ve been eating well along the way.

Melissa Lee, Waltham

It’s 3 a.m. and my dog Rikki just gave me a worried look. Up again?

“I can’t sleep,” I say. I flick the light, pick up “Non-Zero Probabilities.” But the words lay pinned to the page like swatted flies. I watch new “Killing Eve” episodes, play old Nathaniel Rateliff and The Night Sweats songs. Still night.

We are — what? — 12 agitated weeks into lockdown, and now this. The thing that got me was Chauvin’s sunglasses. Perched nonchalantly on his head, undisturbed, as if he were at a backyard BBQ. Or anywhere other than kneeling on George Floyd’s neck, on his life. And Floyd was a father, as we all now know, having seen his daughter Gianna on Stephen Jackson’s shoulders saying “Daddy changed the world.”

Precious child. I pray, safeguard her.

Rikki has her own bed. But she won’t leave me. A Goddess of Protection. She does that thing dogs do, hovers increasingly closely the more agitated I get. “I’m losing it,” I say. I know. And like those weighted gravity blankets meant to encourage sleep, she drapes her 70 pounds over me, covering my restless heart with safety.

As if daybreak, or a prayer, could bring peace today.

Kirstan Barnett, Watertown

Until June 30, send your essay (200 words or less) about life during COVID-19 via . Some essays will be published on the festival’s blog and some will appear in The Boston Globe.

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Covid 19 Essay in English

Essay on Covid -19: In a very short amount of time, coronavirus has spread globally. It has had an enormous impact on people's lives, economy, and societies all around the world, affecting every country. Governments have had to take severe measures to try and contain the pandemic. The virus has altered our way of life in many ways, including its effects on our health and our economy. Here are a few sample essays on ‘CoronaVirus’.

100 Words Essay on Covid 19

200 words essay on covid 19, 500 words essay on covid 19.

Covid 19 Essay in English

COVID-19 or Corona Virus is a novel coronavirus that was first identified in 2019. It is similar to other coronaviruses, such as SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV, but it is more contagious and has caused more severe respiratory illness in people who have been infected. The novel coronavirus became a global pandemic in a very short period of time. It has affected lives, economies and societies across the world, leaving no country untouched. The virus has caused governments to take drastic measures to try and contain it. From health implications to economic and social ramifications, COVID-19 impacted every part of our lives. It has been more than 2 years since the pandemic hit and the world is still recovering from its effects.

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, the world has been impacted in a number of ways. For one, the global economy has taken a hit as businesses have been forced to close their doors. This has led to widespread job losses and an increase in poverty levels around the world. Additionally, countries have had to impose strict travel restrictions in an attempt to contain the virus, which has resulted in a decrease in tourism and international trade. Furthermore, the pandemic has put immense pressure on healthcare systems globally, as hospitals have been overwhelmed with patients suffering from the virus. Lastly, the outbreak has led to a general feeling of anxiety and uncertainty, as people are fearful of contracting the disease.

My Experience of COVID-19

I still remember how abruptly colleges and schools shut down in March 2020. I was a college student at that time and I was under the impression that everything would go back to normal in a few weeks. I could not have been more wrong. The situation only got worse every week and the government had to impose a lockdown. There were so many restrictions in place. For example, we had to wear face masks whenever we left the house, and we could only go out for essential errands. Restaurants and shops were only allowed to operate at take-out capacity, and many businesses were shut down.

In the current scenario, coronavirus is dominating all aspects of our lives. The coronavirus pandemic has wreaked havoc upon people’s lives, altering the way we live and work in a very short amount of time. It has revolutionised how we think about health care, education, and even social interaction. This virus has had long-term implications on our society, including its impact on mental health, economic stability, and global politics. But we as individuals can help to mitigate these effects by taking personal responsibility to protect themselves and those around them from infection.

Effects of CoronaVirus on Education

The outbreak of coronavirus has had a significant impact on education systems around the world. In China, where the virus originated, all schools and universities were closed for several weeks in an effort to contain the spread of the disease. Many other countries have followed suit, either closing schools altogether or suspending classes for a period of time.

This has resulted in a major disruption to the education of millions of students. Some have been able to continue their studies online, but many have not had access to the internet or have not been able to afford the costs associated with it. This has led to a widening of the digital divide between those who can afford to continue their education online and those who cannot.

The closure of schools has also had a negative impact on the mental health of many students. With no face-to-face contact with friends and teachers, some students have felt isolated and anxious. This has been compounded by the worry and uncertainty surrounding the virus itself.

The situation with coronavirus has improved and schools have been reopened but students are still catching up with the gap of 2 years that the pandemic created. In the meantime, governments and educational institutions are working together to find ways to support students and ensure that they are able to continue their education despite these difficult circumstances.

Effects of CoronaVirus on Economy

The outbreak of the coronavirus has had a significant impact on the global economy. The virus, which originated in China, has spread to over two hundred countries, resulting in widespread panic and a decrease in global trade. As a result of the outbreak, many businesses have been forced to close their doors, leading to a rise in unemployment. In addition, the stock market has taken a severe hit.

Effects of CoronaVirus on Health

The effects that coronavirus has on one's health are still being studied and researched as the virus continues to spread throughout the world. However, some of the potential effects on health that have been observed thus far include respiratory problems, fever, and coughing. In severe cases, pneumonia, kidney failure, and death can occur. It is important for people who think they may have been exposed to the virus to seek medical attention immediately so that they can be treated properly and avoid any serious complications. There is no specific cure or treatment for coronavirus at this time, but there are ways to help ease symptoms and prevent the virus from spreading.

Explore Career Options (By Industry)

  • Construction
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Bio Medical Engineer

The field of biomedical engineering opens up a universe of expert chances. An Individual in the biomedical engineering career path work in the field of engineering as well as medicine, in order to find out solutions to common problems of the two fields. The biomedical engineering job opportunities are to collaborate with doctors and researchers to develop medical systems, equipment, or devices that can solve clinical problems. Here we will be discussing jobs after biomedical engineering, how to get a job in biomedical engineering, biomedical engineering scope, and salary. 

Data Administrator

Database professionals use software to store and organise data such as financial information, and customer shipping records. Individuals who opt for a career as data administrators ensure that data is available for users and secured from unauthorised sales. DB administrators may work in various types of industries. It may involve computer systems design, service firms, insurance companies, banks and hospitals.

Ethical Hacker

A career as ethical hacker involves various challenges and provides lucrative opportunities in the digital era where every giant business and startup owns its cyberspace on the world wide web. Individuals in the ethical hacker career path try to find the vulnerabilities in the cyber system to get its authority. If he or she succeeds in it then he or she gets its illegal authority. Individuals in the ethical hacker career path then steal information or delete the file that could affect the business, functioning, or services of the organization.

Data Analyst

The invention of the database has given fresh breath to the people involved in the data analytics career path. Analysis refers to splitting up a whole into its individual components for individual analysis. Data analysis is a method through which raw data are processed and transformed into information that would be beneficial for user strategic thinking.

Data are collected and examined to respond to questions, evaluate hypotheses or contradict theories. It is a tool for analyzing, transforming, modeling, and arranging data with useful knowledge, to assist in decision-making and methods, encompassing various strategies, and is used in different fields of business, research, and social science.

Geothermal Engineer

Individuals who opt for a career as geothermal engineers are the professionals involved in the processing of geothermal energy. The responsibilities of geothermal engineers may vary depending on the workplace location. Those who work in fields design facilities to process and distribute geothermal energy. They oversee the functioning of machinery used in the field.

Remote Sensing Technician

Individuals who opt for a career as a remote sensing technician possess unique personalities. Remote sensing analysts seem to be rational human beings, they are strong, independent, persistent, sincere, realistic and resourceful. Some of them are analytical as well, which means they are intelligent, introspective and inquisitive. 

Remote sensing scientists use remote sensing technology to support scientists in fields such as community planning, flight planning or the management of natural resources. Analysing data collected from aircraft, satellites or ground-based platforms using statistical analysis software, image analysis software or Geographic Information Systems (GIS) is a significant part of their work. Do you want to learn how to become remote sensing technician? There's no need to be concerned; we've devised a simple remote sensing technician career path for you. Scroll through the pages and read.

Geotechnical engineer

The role of geotechnical engineer starts with reviewing the projects needed to define the required material properties. The work responsibilities are followed by a site investigation of rock, soil, fault distribution and bedrock properties on and below an area of interest. The investigation is aimed to improve the ground engineering design and determine their engineering properties that include how they will interact with, on or in a proposed construction. 

The role of geotechnical engineer in mining includes designing and determining the type of foundations, earthworks, and or pavement subgrades required for the intended man-made structures to be made. Geotechnical engineering jobs are involved in earthen and concrete dam construction projects, working under a range of normal and extreme loading conditions. 


How fascinating it is to represent the whole world on just a piece of paper or a sphere. With the help of maps, we are able to represent the real world on a much smaller scale. Individuals who opt for a career as a cartographer are those who make maps. But, cartography is not just limited to maps, it is about a mixture of art , science , and technology. As a cartographer, not only you will create maps but use various geodetic surveys and remote sensing systems to measure, analyse, and create different maps for political, cultural or educational purposes.

Budget Analyst

Budget analysis, in a nutshell, entails thoroughly analyzing the details of a financial budget. The budget analysis aims to better understand and manage revenue. Budget analysts assist in the achievement of financial targets, the preservation of profitability, and the pursuit of long-term growth for a business. Budget analysts generally have a bachelor's degree in accounting, finance, economics, or a closely related field. Knowledge of Financial Management is of prime importance in this career.

Product Manager

A Product Manager is a professional responsible for product planning and marketing. He or she manages the product throughout the Product Life Cycle, gathering and prioritising the product. A product manager job description includes defining the product vision and working closely with team members of other departments to deliver winning products.  


An underwriter is a person who assesses and evaluates the risk of insurance in his or her field like mortgage, loan, health policy, investment, and so on and so forth. The underwriter career path does involve risks as analysing the risks means finding out if there is a way for the insurance underwriter jobs to recover the money from its clients. If the risk turns out to be too much for the company then in the future it is an underwriter who will be held accountable for it. Therefore, one must carry out his or her job with a lot of attention and diligence.

Finance Executive

Operations manager.

Individuals in the operations manager jobs are responsible for ensuring the efficiency of each department to acquire its optimal goal. They plan the use of resources and distribution of materials. The operations manager's job description includes managing budgets, negotiating contracts, and performing administrative tasks.

Bank Probationary Officer (PO)

Investment director.

An investment director is a person who helps corporations and individuals manage their finances. They can help them develop a strategy to achieve their goals, including paying off debts and investing in the future. In addition, he or she can help individuals make informed decisions.

Welding Engineer

Welding Engineer Job Description: A Welding Engineer work involves managing welding projects and supervising welding teams. He or she is responsible for reviewing welding procedures, processes and documentation. A career as Welding Engineer involves conducting failure analyses and causes on welding issues. 

Transportation Planner

A career as Transportation Planner requires technical application of science and technology in engineering, particularly the concepts, equipment and technologies involved in the production of products and services. In fields like land use, infrastructure review, ecological standards and street design, he or she considers issues of health, environment and performance. A Transportation Planner assigns resources for implementing and designing programmes. He or she is responsible for assessing needs, preparing plans and forecasts and compliance with regulations.

An expert in plumbing is aware of building regulations and safety standards and works to make sure these standards are upheld. Testing pipes for leakage using air pressure and other gauges, and also the ability to construct new pipe systems by cutting, fitting, measuring and threading pipes are some of the other more involved aspects of plumbing. Individuals in the plumber career path are self-employed or work for a small business employing less than ten people, though some might find working for larger entities or the government more desirable.

Construction Manager

Individuals who opt for a career as construction managers have a senior-level management role offered in construction firms. Responsibilities in the construction management career path are assigning tasks to workers, inspecting their work, and coordinating with other professionals including architects, subcontractors, and building services engineers.

Urban Planner

Urban Planning careers revolve around the idea of developing a plan to use the land optimally, without affecting the environment. Urban planning jobs are offered to those candidates who are skilled in making the right use of land to distribute the growing population, to create various communities. 

Urban planning careers come with the opportunity to make changes to the existing cities and towns. They identify various community needs and make short and long-term plans accordingly.

Highway Engineer

Highway Engineer Job Description:  A Highway Engineer is a civil engineer who specialises in planning and building thousands of miles of roads that support connectivity and allow transportation across the country. He or she ensures that traffic management schemes are effectively planned concerning economic sustainability and successful implementation.

Environmental Engineer

Individuals who opt for a career as an environmental engineer are construction professionals who utilise the skills and knowledge of biology, soil science, chemistry and the concept of engineering to design and develop projects that serve as solutions to various environmental problems. 

Naval Architect

A Naval Architect is a professional who designs, produces and repairs safe and sea-worthy surfaces or underwater structures. A Naval Architect stays involved in creating and designing ships, ferries, submarines and yachts with implementation of various principles such as gravity, ideal hull form, buoyancy and stability. 

Orthotist and Prosthetist

Orthotists and Prosthetists are professionals who provide aid to patients with disabilities. They fix them to artificial limbs (prosthetics) and help them to regain stability. There are times when people lose their limbs in an accident. In some other occasions, they are born without a limb or orthopaedic impairment. Orthotists and prosthetists play a crucial role in their lives with fixing them to assistive devices and provide mobility.

Veterinary Doctor


A career in pathology in India is filled with several responsibilities as it is a medical branch and affects human lives. The demand for pathologists has been increasing over the past few years as people are getting more aware of different diseases. Not only that, but an increase in population and lifestyle changes have also contributed to the increase in a pathologist’s demand. The pathology careers provide an extremely huge number of opportunities and if you want to be a part of the medical field you can consider being a pathologist. If you want to know more about a career in pathology in India then continue reading this article.

Speech Therapist


Gynaecology can be defined as the study of the female body. The job outlook for gynaecology is excellent since there is evergreen demand for one because of their responsibility of dealing with not only women’s health but also fertility and pregnancy issues. Although most women prefer to have a women obstetrician gynaecologist as their doctor, men also explore a career as a gynaecologist and there are ample amounts of male doctors in the field who are gynaecologists and aid women during delivery and childbirth. 

An oncologist is a specialised doctor responsible for providing medical care to patients diagnosed with cancer. He or she uses several therapies to control the cancer and its effect on the human body such as chemotherapy, immunotherapy, radiation therapy and biopsy. An oncologist designs a treatment plan based on a pathology report after diagnosing the type of cancer and where it is spreading inside the body.


The audiologist career involves audiology professionals who are responsible to treat hearing loss and proactively preventing the relevant damage. Individuals who opt for a career as an audiologist use various testing strategies with the aim to determine if someone has a normal sensitivity to sounds or not. After the identification of hearing loss, a hearing doctor is required to determine which sections of the hearing are affected, to what extent they are affected, and where the wound causing the hearing loss is found. As soon as the hearing loss is identified, the patients are provided with recommendations for interventions and rehabilitation such as hearing aids, cochlear implants, and appropriate medical referrals. While audiology is a branch of science that studies and researches hearing, balance, and related disorders.

Hospital Administrator

The hospital Administrator is in charge of organising and supervising the daily operations of medical services and facilities. This organising includes managing of organisation’s staff and its members in service, budgets, service reports, departmental reporting and taking reminders of patient care and services.

For an individual who opts for a career as an actor, the primary responsibility is to completely speak to the character he or she is playing and to persuade the crowd that the character is genuine by connecting with them and bringing them into the story. This applies to significant roles and littler parts, as all roles join to make an effective creation. Here in this article, we will discuss how to become an actor in India, actor exams, actor salary in India, and actor jobs. 

Individuals who opt for a career as acrobats create and direct original routines for themselves, in addition to developing interpretations of existing routines. The work of circus acrobats can be seen in a variety of performance settings, including circus, reality shows, sports events like the Olympics, movies and commercials. Individuals who opt for a career as acrobats must be prepared to face rejections and intermittent periods of work. The creativity of acrobats may extend to other aspects of the performance. For example, acrobats in the circus may work with gym trainers, celebrities or collaborate with other professionals to enhance such performance elements as costume and or maybe at the teaching end of the career.

Video Game Designer

Career as a video game designer is filled with excitement as well as responsibilities. A video game designer is someone who is involved in the process of creating a game from day one. He or she is responsible for fulfilling duties like designing the character of the game, the several levels involved, plot, art and similar other elements. Individuals who opt for a career as a video game designer may also write the codes for the game using different programming languages.

Depending on the video game designer job description and experience they may also have to lead a team and do the early testing of the game in order to suggest changes and find loopholes.

Radio Jockey

Radio Jockey is an exciting, promising career and a great challenge for music lovers. If you are really interested in a career as radio jockey, then it is very important for an RJ to have an automatic, fun, and friendly personality. If you want to get a job done in this field, a strong command of the language and a good voice are always good things. Apart from this, in order to be a good radio jockey, you will also listen to good radio jockeys so that you can understand their style and later make your own by practicing.

A career as radio jockey has a lot to offer to deserving candidates. If you want to know more about a career as radio jockey, and how to become a radio jockey then continue reading the article.


The word “choreography" actually comes from Greek words that mean “dance writing." Individuals who opt for a career as a choreographer create and direct original dances, in addition to developing interpretations of existing dances. A Choreographer dances and utilises his or her creativity in other aspects of dance performance. For example, he or she may work with the music director to select music or collaborate with other famous choreographers to enhance such performance elements as lighting, costume and set design.


Multimedia specialist.

A multimedia specialist is a media professional who creates, audio, videos, graphic image files, computer animations for multimedia applications. He or she is responsible for planning, producing, and maintaining websites and applications. 

Social Media Manager

A career as social media manager involves implementing the company’s or brand’s marketing plan across all social media channels. Social media managers help in building or improving a brand’s or a company’s website traffic, build brand awareness, create and implement marketing and brand strategy. Social media managers are key to important social communication as well.

Copy Writer

In a career as a copywriter, one has to consult with the client and understand the brief well. A career as a copywriter has a lot to offer to deserving candidates. Several new mediums of advertising are opening therefore making it a lucrative career choice. Students can pursue various copywriter courses such as Journalism , Advertising , Marketing Management . Here, we have discussed how to become a freelance copywriter, copywriter career path, how to become a copywriter in India, and copywriting career outlook. 

Careers in journalism are filled with excitement as well as responsibilities. One cannot afford to miss out on the details. As it is the small details that provide insights into a story. Depending on those insights a journalist goes about writing a news article. A journalism career can be stressful at times but if you are someone who is passionate about it then it is the right choice for you. If you want to know more about the media field and journalist career then continue reading this article.

For publishing books, newspapers, magazines and digital material, editorial and commercial strategies are set by publishers. Individuals in publishing career paths make choices about the markets their businesses will reach and the type of content that their audience will be served. Individuals in book publisher careers collaborate with editorial staff, designers, authors, and freelance contributors who develop and manage the creation of content.

In a career as a vlogger, one generally works for himself or herself. However, once an individual has gained viewership there are several brands and companies that approach them for paid collaboration. It is one of those fields where an individual can earn well while following his or her passion. 

Ever since internet costs got reduced the viewership for these types of content has increased on a large scale. Therefore, a career as a vlogger has a lot to offer. If you want to know more about the Vlogger eligibility, roles and responsibilities then continue reading the article. 

Individuals in the editor career path is an unsung hero of the news industry who polishes the language of the news stories provided by stringers, reporters, copywriters and content writers and also news agencies. Individuals who opt for a career as an editor make it more persuasive, concise and clear for readers. In this article, we will discuss the details of the editor's career path such as how to become an editor in India, editor salary in India and editor skills and qualities.

Linguistic meaning is related to language or Linguistics which is the study of languages. A career as a linguistic meaning, a profession that is based on the scientific study of language, and it's a very broad field with many specialities. Famous linguists work in academia, researching and teaching different areas of language, such as phonetics (sounds), syntax (word order) and semantics (meaning). 

Other researchers focus on specialities like computational linguistics, which seeks to better match human and computer language capacities, or applied linguistics, which is concerned with improving language education. Still, others work as language experts for the government, advertising companies, dictionary publishers and various other private enterprises. Some might work from home as freelance linguists. Philologist, phonologist, and dialectician are some of Linguist synonym. Linguists can study French , German , Italian . 

Public Relation Executive

Travel journalist.

The career of a travel journalist is full of passion, excitement and responsibility. Journalism as a career could be challenging at times, but if you're someone who has been genuinely enthusiastic about all this, then it is the best decision for you. Travel journalism jobs are all about insightful, artfully written, informative narratives designed to cover the travel industry. Travel Journalist is someone who explores, gathers and presents information as a news article.

Quality Controller

A quality controller plays a crucial role in an organisation. He or she is responsible for performing quality checks on manufactured products. He or she identifies the defects in a product and rejects the product. 

A quality controller records detailed information about products with defects and sends it to the supervisor or plant manager to take necessary actions to improve the production process.

Production Manager


A QA Lead is in charge of the QA Team. The role of QA Lead comes with the responsibility of assessing services and products in order to determine that he or she meets the quality standards. He or she develops, implements and manages test plans. 

Metallurgical Engineer

A metallurgical engineer is a professional who studies and produces materials that bring power to our world. He or she extracts metals from ores and rocks and transforms them into alloys, high-purity metals and other materials used in developing infrastructure, transportation and healthcare equipment. 

Azure Administrator

An Azure Administrator is a professional responsible for implementing, monitoring, and maintaining Azure Solutions. He or she manages cloud infrastructure service instances and various cloud servers as well as sets up public and private cloud systems. 

AWS Solution Architect

An AWS Solution Architect is someone who specializes in developing and implementing cloud computing systems. He or she has a good understanding of the various aspects of cloud computing and can confidently deploy and manage their systems. He or she troubleshoots the issues and evaluates the risk from the third party. 

Computer Programmer

Careers in computer programming primarily refer to the systematic act of writing code and moreover include wider computer science areas. The word 'programmer' or 'coder' has entered into practice with the growing number of newly self-taught tech enthusiasts. Computer programming careers involve the use of designs created by software developers and engineers and transforming them into commands that can be implemented by computers. These commands result in regular usage of social media sites, word-processing applications and browsers.

ITSM Manager

Information security manager.

Individuals in the information security manager career path involves in overseeing and controlling all aspects of computer security. The IT security manager job description includes planning and carrying out security measures to protect the business data and information from corruption, theft, unauthorised access, and deliberate attack 

Business Intelligence Developer

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Essay on COVID-19 Pandemic

As a result of the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak, daily life has been negatively affected, impacting the worldwide economy. Thousands of individuals have been sickened or died as a result of the outbreak of this disease. When you have the flu or a viral infection, the most common symptoms include fever, cold, coughing up bone fragments, and difficulty breathing, which may progress to pneumonia. It’s important to take major steps like keeping a strict cleaning routine, keeping social distance, and wearing masks, among other things. This virus’s geographic spread is accelerating (Daniel Pg 93). Governments restricted public meetings during the start of the pandemic to prevent the disease from spreading and breaking the exponential distribution curve. In order to avoid the damage caused by this extremely contagious disease, several countries quarantined their citizens. However, this scenario had drastically altered with the discovery of the vaccinations. The research aims to investigate the effect of the Covid-19 epidemic and its impact on the population’s well-being.

There is growing interest in the relationship between social determinants of health and health outcomes. Still, many health care providers and academics have been hesitant to recognize racism as a contributing factor to racial health disparities. Only a few research have examined the health effects of institutional racism, with the majority focusing on interpersonal racial and ethnic prejudice Ciotti et al., Pg 370. The latter comprises historically and culturally connected institutions that are interconnected. Prejudice is being practiced in a variety of contexts as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. In some ways, the outbreak has exposed pre-existing bias and inequity.

Thousands of businesses are in danger of failure. Around 2.3 billion of the world’s 3.3 billion employees are out of work. These workers are especially susceptible since they lack access to social security and adequate health care, and they’ve also given up ownership of productive assets, which makes them highly vulnerable. Many individuals lose their employment as a result of lockdowns, leaving them unable to support their families. People strapped for cash are often forced to reduce their caloric intake while also eating less nutritiously (Fraser et al, Pg 3). The epidemic has had an impact on the whole food chain, revealing vulnerabilities that were previously hidden. Border closures, trade restrictions, and confinement measures have limited farmer access to markets, while agricultural workers have not gathered crops. As a result, the local and global food supply chain has been disrupted, and people now have less access to healthy foods. As a consequence of the epidemic, many individuals have lost their employment, and millions more are now in danger. When breadwinners lose their jobs, become sick, or die, the food and nutrition of millions of people are endangered. Particularly severely hit are the world’s poorest small farmers and indigenous peoples.

Infectious illness outbreaks and epidemics have become worldwide threats due to globalization, urbanization, and environmental change. In developed countries like Europe and North America, surveillance and health systems monitor and manage the spread of infectious illnesses in real-time. Both low- and high-income countries need to improve their public health capacities (Omer et al., Pg 1767). These improvements should be financed using a mix of national and foreign donor money. In order to speed up research and reaction for new illnesses with pandemic potential, a global collaborative effort including governments and commercial companies has been proposed. When working on a vaccine-like COVID-19, cooperation is critical.

The epidemic has had an impact on the whole food chain, revealing vulnerabilities that were previously hidden. Border closures, trade restrictions, and confinement measures have limited farmer access to markets, while agricultural workers have been unable to gather crops. As a result, the local and global food supply chain has been disrupted, and people now have less access to healthy foods (Daniel et al.,Pg 95) . As a consequence of the epidemic, many individuals have lost their employment, and millions more are now in danger. When breadwinners lose their jobs, the food and nutrition of millions of people are endangered. Particularly severely hit are the world’s poorest small farmers and indigenous peoples.

While helping to feed the world’s population, millions of paid and unpaid agricultural laborers suffer from high levels of poverty, hunger, and bad health, as well as a lack of safety and labor safeguards, as well as other kinds of abuse at work. Poor people, who have no recourse to social assistance, must work longer and harder, sometimes in hazardous occupations, endangering their families in the process (Daniel Pg 96). When faced with a lack of income, people may turn to hazardous financial activities, including asset liquidation, predatory lending, or child labor, to make ends meet. Because of the dangers they encounter while traveling, working, and living abroad; migrant agricultural laborers are especially vulnerable. They also have a difficult time taking advantage of government assistance programs.

The pandemic also has a significant impact on education. Although many educational institutions across the globe have already made the switch to online learning, the extent to which technology is utilized to improve the quality of distance or online learning varies. This level is dependent on several variables, including the different parties engaged in the execution of this learning format and the incorporation of technology into educational institutions before the time of school closure caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. For many years, researchers from all around the globe have worked to determine what variables contribute to effective technology integration in the classroom Ciotti et al., Pg 371. The amount of technology usage and the quality of learning when moving from a classroom to a distant or online format are presumed to be influenced by the same set of variables. Findings from previous research, which sought to determine what affects educational systems ability to integrate technology into teaching, suggest understanding how teachers, students, and technology interact positively in order to achieve positive results in the integration of teaching technology (Honey et al., 2000). Teachers’ views on teaching may affect the chances of successfully incorporating technology into the classroom and making it a part of the learning process.

In conclusion, indeed, Covid 19 pandemic have affected the well being of the people in a significant manner. The economy operation across the globe have been destabilized as most of the people have been rendered jobless while the job operation has been stopped. As most of the people have been rendered jobless the living conditions of the people have also been significantly affected. Besides, the education sector has also been affected as most of the learning institutions prefer the use of online learning which is not effective as compared to the traditional method. With the invention of the vaccines, most of the developed countries have been noted to stabilize slowly, while the developing countries have not been able to vaccinate most of its citizens. However, despite the challenge caused by the pandemic, organizations have been able to adapt the new mode of online trading to be promoted.

Ciotti, Marco, et al. “The COVID-19 pandemic.”  Critical reviews in clinical laboratory sciences  57.6 (2020): 365-388.

Daniel, John. “Education and the COVID-19 pandemic.”  Prospects  49.1 (2020): 91-96.

Fraser, Nicholas, et al. “Preprinting the COVID-19 pandemic.”  BioRxiv  (2021): 2020-05.

Omer, Saad B., Preeti Malani, and Carlos Del Rio. “The COVID-19 pandemic in the US: a clinical update.”  Jama  323.18 (2020): 1767-1768.

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Life After the COVID-19 Pandemic

  • 1 O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law, Georgetown University Law Center, Washington, DC

After 2 years of a seemingly relentless pandemic that has upended work, education, and social interactions, the questions many are asking are when will we get back to normal and what will life be like after the COVID-19 pandemic? In truth, science cannot fully predict what SARS-CoV-2 variants will arise and the trajectory of the pandemic. Yet, history and informed scientific observations provide a guide to how—and when—society will return to prepandemic patterns of behavior. There will not be a single moment when social life suddenly goes back to normal. Instead, gradually, over time, most people will view COVID-19 as a background risk and abandon the trappings of pandemic caution.

Pandemic to Endemic

The Great Influenza Pandemic of 1918 offers a historical guide to transitioning from a pandemic to an endemic infection. That pandemic began to subside after an estimated 500 million people —one-third of the world’s population—became infected, conferring high population immunity. (Approximately 50 million died worldwide, including 675 000 in the US.) The virus also mutated and became less pathogenic. Influenza H1N1 eventually reached an equilibrium, spreading among pockets of susceptible individuals without taking the lives of most.

SARS-CoV-2 may be following a similar trajectory. An estimated 94% of people in the US now have at least some vaccine- or disease-induced immunity against COVID-19. The highly contagious Omicron variant may speed transition to an endemic phase, with more than 100 million US residents becoming infected. Omicron also appears less pathogenic than previous variants. Thus far, booster doses of messenger RNA COVID-19 vaccines are conferring robust protection, with COVID-19 hospitalizations 16 times higher for unvaccinated adults than for fully vaccinated persons in December 2021.

COVID-19 will not be eliminated, and certainly not eradicated, in the foreseeable future. Intermittent surges will occur, driven by viral evolution and colder weather keeping individuals indoors. Ongoing vaccination will be needed because of waning immunity and viral mutations. COVID-19 will also require surveillance similar to the Global Influenza Surveillance and Response System , a global platform for monitoring influenza epidemiology and disease that is used in formulating seasonal influenza vaccines.

A Cautionary Tale

There are major caveats to when the pandemic will wane, including the unknown duration of vaccine- or disease-induced immunity. Billions of people worldwide still are unvaccinated, facilitating rapid viral mutations. In 1920, a variant of influenza emerged that caused an outbreak so severe it could have been considered another pandemic wave. And a pandemic H1N1 strain emerged in 2009 .

Although the Omicron variant appears to cause milder disease, future mutations may not be less severe. Viral evolution is not linear as many assume, with various strains likely to emerge. Vaccinating the world’s population will remain a major priority, along with effective COVID-19 therapeutics.

Scientific uncertainty also exists about the causes, and frequency, of long COVID, or post-COVID conditions , in which chronic symptoms persist beyond the infection’s initial phase . Reinfections are now common, raising concerns about chronic disease. Research into risk factors and clinical management of long COVID will be important.

Living With COVID-19

Endemic is an epidemiologic term, whereby overall infection rates stabilize . The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines endemic as “the constant presence or usual prevalence of a disease or infectious agent in a population within a geographic area.” Endemicity is also determined by when countries decide to move from emergency response toward longer-term control programs. Several high-income countries are already developing postpandemic plans. During endemic phases, most people return to prepandemic patterns of behavior, depending on personal risk tolerance.

COVID-19 management will likely resemble influenza-like illness surveillance. In the US influenza surveillance system—which itself requires modernization as well as improvement of data systems—the CDC partners with states, laboratories, and hospitals to detect influenza outbreaks, viral strains, and disease severity. COVID-19 management will require rapid identification of case clusters and variants. Outbreaks may trigger testing, contact tracing, and isolation. Isolation duration might be reduced based on case and hospitalization rates as well as social and economic needs. South Africa, for example, recently announced it will not require isolation of asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2–positive cases .

Periodic COVID-19 vaccinations, modified as new variants circulate, will remain a major control strategy. Vaccine mandates may resemble those for influenza, covering high-risk settings such as hospitals and nursing facilities. Proof of vaccination for dining, entertainment, shopping, and travel may eventually be retracted. It is unclear whether, or when, the CDC will add COVID-19 to its recommended list of school vaccinations. Currently, only California and Louisiana require COVID-19 vaccinations for school entry , although some localities mandate them for activities such as sports.

Mandates regarding the wearing of masks and social distancing may soon be relaxed, depending again on levels of risk. COVID-19 mitigation strategies could be rapidly reimplemented to counter outbreaks, and then retracted when the threat subsides—requiring effective communication. Absent mandates, pandemic behaviors such as wearing masks may continue for vulnerable or risk-adverse individuals, especially in crowded places such as movie theaters and concert venues.

The public may no longer accept the most severe COVID-19 strategies such as school closures, lockdowns, and travel bans. Denmark recently removed all COVID-19 restrictions and Colorado’s governor declared “the emergency is over.” Highly restrictive measures pose significant social, educational, and economic costs .

A Return to Socialization

COVID-19 risk mitigation resulted in profound social isolation and loneliness, evidenced by increased anxiety, depression, substance abuse, and suicidal thoughts . The public yearns for simple joys, such as embracing family members or friends, dining out, or seeing a smile unhidden by a protective mask. Humans are intrinsically social beings . It was not long after the 1918 pandemic when the US resumed intense socialization, with the Roaring 20s bringing people together in crowded dance halls, movie palaces, and speakeasies.

Some pandemic behaviors may continue, at least in part, if there is social utility. Hybrid working (remote and in-person) could outlast the pandemic, offering many employees a better balance between family and career and more choice in where to live. Air travel may also remain stagnant for the immediate future. By December 2021, international travel was 72% below 2019 levels , and it may not recover until 2024.

Eroding Public Health

It seems intuitive that a pandemic would increase reliance in, and trust of, public health agencies. That intuition appears mistaken. Trust in public health agencies declined significantly during the pandemic in the context of intense politicization over mitigation measures and confusing CDC guidance. States have enacted more than 100 new laws limiting health emergency powers, banning mask or vaccination mandates, and limiting governors’ emergency powers. The judiciary also curtailed public health powers, including the US Supreme Court’s decision to block the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s vaccine-or-test mandate . The Supreme Court also overturned social distancing orders that placed limits on religious services .

The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged society to reexamine the balance between personal freedom and public health in a postpandemic era. It may be too soon to shift to an endemic phase while Omicron-related hospitalizations remain high and effective therapeutics are scarce. The US has far higher death rates and lower vaccination rates than peer nations. But a gradual transition to normal will likely occur in the coming months, bringing back social activities that individuals have dearly missed. The ability of public health agencies to help society return safely to a new normal will remain critically important.

Open Access: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the CC-BY License . © 2022 Gostin LO. JAMA Health Forum .

Corresponding Author: Lawrence O. Gostin, JD, Georgetown University Law Center, 600 New Jersey Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20001 ( [email protected] ).

Conflict of Interest Disclosures: None reported.

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Gostin LO. Life After the COVID-19 Pandemic. JAMA Health Forum. 2022;3(2):e220323. doi:10.1001/jamahealthforum.2022.0323

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Sandro Galea M.D.

COVID-19 Was a Turning Point for Health

Our new book focuses on the lessons of the pandemic..

Posted February 15, 2024 | Reviewed by Michelle Quirk

  • To think comprehensively about COVID-19 is to think not just about the past but also about the future.
  • The narratives we accept about the pandemic will do much to shape our ability to create a healthier world.
  • Understanding the pandemic, and learning from it, means coming to terms with the emotions of that time.

In 2021, the United States was at a turning point. We had just lived through the acute phase of a global pandemic. During that time, the country had experienced an economic crisis, civil unrest, a deeply divisive federal election, and a technological revolution in how we live, work, and congregate. The emergence of COVID-19 vaccines allowed us, finally, to look ahead to a post-pandemic world, but what would that world be like? Would it be a return to the pre-COVID-19 status quo, or would it be something radically new?

It was with these questions in mind that, in 2021, I partnered with my colleague Michael Stein to write a series of essays reflecting on the COVID-19 pandemic. Our aim was to engage with the COVID moment through the lens of cutting -edge public health science. By exploring the pandemic’s intersection with topics like digital surveillance, vaccine distribution, big data, and the link between science and political decision-making , we tried to sketch what the moment meant while it unfolded and what its implications might be for the future. If journalism is “the first rough draft of history,” these essays were, in a way, our effort to produce just such a draft, from the perspective of a forward-looking public health. I am delighted to announce that a book based on this series of essays has just been published by Oxford University Press: The Turning Point: Reflections on a Pandemic .

The book includes a series of short chapters, structured in five sections that address the following themes:

This section looks at the COVID-19 moment through the lens of what we might learn from it, toward better addressing future pandemics. It tackles challenges we faced in our approach to testing, our successes and shortcomings in implementing contact tracing, the intersection of the pandemic and mass incarceration, and more. Many of these lessons emerged organically from the day-to-day experience of the pandemic, reflecting “unknown unknowns”—areas where we encountered unexpected deficits in our knowledge, which were revealed by the circumstances of the pandemic. Chapter 8, for example, explores the necessity of public health officials speaking with care, mindful that our words may be used to justify authoritarian approaches in the name of health, a challenge we saw in the actions of the Chinese government during the pandemic.

Our understanding of large-scale health challenges like pandemics depends on more than collections of data and a timeline of events. It depends on our stories. The narratives we accept about the pandemic will do much to shape our ability to create a healthier world before the next contagion strikes. This section explores the stories we told during COVID-19 about what was happening to us and looks ahead to the narratives that will likely define our recollections of the pandemic moment. It addresses narratives around the virtues and limits of expertise, the role of the media as both a shaper of stories and a character in them, the hotly contested narrative around vaccines, and the role scientists, physicians, and epidemiologists played in shaping the story of the pandemic as it unfolded.

This section explores how our values informed what we did during COVID-19 through the ethical considerations that shaped our engagement with the moment. These include the ethical tradeoffs involved in questions of digital surveillance, scientific bias, vaccine mandates, balancing individual autonomy and collective responsibility, and the role of the profit motive in creating critical treatments. At times, these reflections reach back into history, grappling with past moments when we failed in our ethical obligations to support the health of all, as in a chapter discussing how the legacy of medical racism shaped our engagement with communities of color during the pandemic. Such soul-searching is core to our ability to evaluate our performance during COVID-19 and face the future grounded in the values that support effective, ethical public health action.

As human beings, we do not process events through reason alone. We are deeply swayed by emotion . This is particularly true in times of tragedy like COVID-19. Understanding the pandemic, and learning from it, means coming to terms with the emotions of that time, the feelings that attended all we did. Grief and loss, humility and hope, trust and mistrust , compassion and fear —both individual and collective—were all core to the experience of the pandemic. The simple act of recognizing our collective grief, as several chapters in this section try to do, can help us move forward, acknowledging the emotions that attend tragedy as we work toward a better world.

To think comprehensively about COVID-19 is to think not just about the past but about the future. We seek to understand the pandemic to prevent something like it from ever happening again. This means creating a world that is fundamentally healthier than the one that existed in 2019. This final section looks to the future from the perspective of the COVID-19 moment, with an eye toward using the lessons of that time to create a healthier world, as in Chapter 50, which addresses the challenge of rebuilding trust in public health institutions after it was tested during the pandemic. The section also touches on leadership and decision-making, shaping a better health system, shoring up our investment in health, the future of remote work, and next steps in our efforts to support health in the years to come.

I end with a note of gratitude to Michael Stein, who led on the development of this book. It is, as always, a privilege to work with him and learn from him. I look forward to continued collaborations in the months and years to come, and to hearing from readers of The Turning Point as we engage in our collective task of building a healthier world, informed by what we have lived through and looking to the future.

A version of this essay appeared on Substack.

Sandro Galea M.D.

Sandro Galea, M.D., is the Robert A. Knox professor and dean of the Boston University School of Public Health

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essay on life after covid 19 300 words

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Life after the pandemic

essay on life after covid 19 300 words

Since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic we have begun to analyse, forecast and speculate the impact on economies, societies, political systems, governance mechanisms, and on many more areas. We have started to imagine a world after COVID-19 through a variety of lenses based on our own understanding and experiences. The innumerable research that are being carried out on the impact of COVID-19 throughout the world have flooded our minds, and sometimes made us confused as to what life after COVID-19 would look like.  

The implications of COVID-19 on the global economy and on individual countries are becoming obvious as time goes on. The shutdown of almost all economic activities have brought miseries to economies of all strata and phases. Production and supply chains have been disrupted, exports and imports decelerated, transportation system collapsed and service sector interrupted. These have changed the lives and livelihoods of people across the world. Unemployment has soared, poverty has surged, food insecurity has increased, and above all, loss of lives is increasing by the hour.

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Barring a few, most governments have undertaken policy measures to address such a rapid and massive impact of corona pandemic at large scales. Health expenditures have been topped up to mitigate the health risks. Stimulus packages for various sectors of the economy have been announced with the objective being increase spending following the Keynesian theory to rejuvenate the economy. Relief packages are also in place in many countries to extend income and food support to the poor to save them from hunger.

These are of course immediate responses to rescue the lives of people and also pump oxygen into the economy. And, hopefully it will work sooner rather than later. Scientists and doctors have shown some rays of hope to tackle the disease. And once health is under control, human beings are smart enough to work through in reviving the economic activities and recover the lost gains to the best of their ability. At least, history has pointed out clearly how economies could get back to life after several crises in the past. The World Wars, the Great Depression, the Spanish Flu and many more examples will confirm this.

However, apart from economic recovery, will there be any changes in social, cultural and institutional norms, political systems and governance patterns? Change is a continuous process. It happens for good or for bad. Changes emanated from crises may sometimes become beneficial for humanity. What changes will COVID-19 lead to? It depends on what changes we want to see. And how we work towards that. It is not automatic. 

At the onset of COVID-19, people talked about the universal nature of this pandemic. We were reminded of how every person—rich and poor, man and woman, powerful and weak—is vulnerable to this pandemic. COVID-19 does not distinguish among race, colour, gender, location, profession, position or riches. But it has been proven wrong when immediate research in many communities in several countries showed that COVID-19 also has a bias against certain groups of people. That is why African-American were more affected in the USA or the underprivileged with weak immune system in poor countries are becoming victims of COVID-19 more than others. This bias is of course not created by COVID-19. Rather it is the outcome of the biases that have been created by government policies which favour the rich and ignores the impoverished.

A review of the ongoing discussions with respect to the situation during the post COVD-19 period indicates that there can be three possible scenarios.

First is the business as usual situation. That is, the world recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic and goes back to where we were before COVID-19—economically, socially, politically and environmentally. We continue to live in whatever good or bad circumstances we had during the pre-COVID-19 period. And we continue to accept and adjust to the existing realities that the world will continue to generate wealth, and economic prosperity of some countries and some people will continue to multiply but these privileges will not be universal.

The second situation will be such that the global economy slides so much that it takes a long time to recover. Poverty, mortality, morbidity, food insecurity and unemployment increases. All forms of inequality within and among countries accentuates. All global targets—Sustainable Development Goals, providing support to poor countries by developed countries equivalent to 0.7 percent of their gross national income, Paris climate agreement to limit the increase of global temperature to 1.5 degrees Celsius —fail to be achieved. As a result, countries become inward looking and resort to protectionism. And the effectiveness of global institutions such as the United Nations, World Trade Organisations and the like decelerates.

Third is the optimistic case. The economies around the world not only recovers but, moves further ahead. Governments invest more in areas such as health, education, technology, climate and work towards ending poverty, improving inclusivity, establishing good governance and creating democratic spaces. Cooperation among nations improves and commitments toward fulfilling the global promises get implemented. This is the situation where crisis will be turned into opportunity by global and national leaders.

What do we expect in Bangladesh during the aftermath of COVID-19? The outcome of the greatest crisis in Bangladesh's history—the Liberation War in 1971—was regaining our prized possession, that is, an independent country. We faced the crisis in unity and solidarity. And following the war we also got a progressive constitution that upholds the dignity and rights of every citizen of Bangladesh. Social justice and equality are also enshrined in our great constitution. After 49 years of our independence, we however, cannot claim that we could keep our promises to those who sacrificed their lives for the country.

Rather, the spirit of our freedom fighters is being undermined by the way some of us conduct ourselves each day and even during crisis. Politically connected people who steal relief for the flood affected people and get away with such misdeeds are also active now during COVID-19. With shame we observe when people go hungry, these people in charge of distribution of food and support have the audacity to commit such heinous crimes. With frustration we see how public representatives are nowhere to be seen to coordinate the relief work and help their voters to survive. With sadness we note how people behave with the frontline workers of this crisis who are risking their own lives and also how health workers mistreat patients by forgetting the core values of their profession. With discouragement we learn how faulty and corrupt the health procurement is and how the poor are deprived of medicines allocated for them.

And, all of a sudden, it seems everyone has become poor in Bangladesh!  The way every business—irrespective of its size and strength, is seeking stimulus packages from the government reminds us of the old story of greed, not need.

One wonders, will people change in their attitude and behaviour or keep repeating their old acts once COVID-19 recedes?

Dr Fahmida Khatun is the Executive Director at the Centre for Policy Dialogue.


ছাত্র রাজনীতি বন্ধের নামে বুয়েট যাতে জঙ্গিবাদের কারখানায় পরিণত না হয়: কাদের

‘আমরা তদন্ত করে দেখছি, এ ধরনের কিছু পাওয়া গেলে সরকারকে অ্যাকশনে যেতে হবে।’

ছাত্রলীগের প্রতিবাদ কর্মসূচির মাইক বুয়েটের দিকে ঘোরানো

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Four Years On, Covid Has Reshaped Life for Many Americans

Covid was declared a national emergency on March 13, 2020. Even as the threat of severe illness and death has faded, the pandemic’s effects linger.

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essay on life after covid 19 300 words

By Julie Bosman

Reporting from Chicago

Jessie Thompson, a 36-year-old mother of two in Chicago, is reminded of the Covid-19 pandemic every day.

Sometimes it happens when she picks up her children from day care and then lets them romp around at a neighborhood park on the way home. Other times, it’s when she gets out the shower at 7 a.m. after a weekday workout.

“I always think: In my past life, I’d have to be on the train in 15 minutes,” said Ms. Thompson, a manager at United Airlines.

A hybrid work schedule has replaced her daily commute to the company headquarters in downtown Chicago, giving Ms. Thompson more time with her children and a deeper connection to her neighbors. “The pandemic is such a negative memory,” she said. “But I have this bright spot of goodness from it.”

For much of the United States, the pandemic is now firmly in the past, four years to the day that the Trump administration declared a national emergency as the virus spread uncontrollably. But for many Americans, the pandemic’s effects are still a prominent part of their daily lives.

In interviews, some people said that the changes are subtle but unmistakable: Their world feels a little smaller, with less socializing and fewer crowds. Parents who began to home-school their children never stopped. Many people are continuing to mourn relatives and spouses who died of Covid or of complications from the coronavirus.

The World Health Organization dropped its global health emergency designation in May 2023, but millions of people who survived the virus are suffering from long Covid, a mysterious and frequently debilitating condition that causes fatigue, muscle pain and cognitive decline .

One common sentiment has emerged. The changes brought on by the pandemic now feel lasting, a shift that may have permanently reshaped American life.

Before the pandemic, Melody Condon, a marketing specialist in Vancouver, Wash., who is immunocompromised, said she had a stronger sense of confidence in other people.

“Unfounded or not, I believed that for the most part, others would take small actions to keep me and people like me safe,” Ms. Condon, 32, said.

But now she has encountered people who resist taking a Covid test or wearing a mask in some situations.

“What they’re communicating is that they don’t care about my health and my life,” Ms. Condon said. “I have lost so much trust in others.”

For Paris Dolfman of Roswell, Ga., a mild Covid infection in 2022 turned into an excruciating case of long Covid that has upended her life.

Ms. Dolfman, 31, is now mostly bedridden, depending on her mother for full-time care. But she said that her attitude toward life had broadened, in spite of her painful condition.

“One day I looked out the window and saw happy little birds on a branch, and I just imagined what it would be like to have the freedom to do what your body wants to do,” she said. “I decided to put my focus on the smaller things. Not to focus on the big picture, but to focus on the little things that I have.”

Clint Newman, of Albuquerque, spent the first year of the pandemic in isolation, alone in his apartment.

“I went over 12 months without touching another human being,” he said. “It was brutalizing. It scarred me pretty deeply.”

Mr. Newman said that he notices what he believes to be the lasting effects of the pandemic all around him.

“I see it in people’s anger, in people’s aggressive driving,” he said. “It just seems that there’s a lot of unhappiness and rage in the world right now. And I think a lot of that goes back to the lockdown.”

After Mr. Newman emerged from isolation, he realized that the trajectory of his life had changed, too. He decided that he did not want to be lonely again. After joining a dating app, he met a woman, Shay, and the two married in 2022.

“The pandemic is something I carry with me, consciously, all the time,” he said.

Four years after contracting Covid, Cindy Esch, of Liberty Lake, Wash., said that she has had to settle for a different life than the one she led before.

She and her husband used to go on adventures, especially on their sailboat, Passion. But her case of long Covid has been so difficult — she frequently feels intense fatigue that leaves her exhausted for days — that the couple was forced to sell their two-story home and move into a house with no stairs.

Doctors have told Ms. Esch that she and her husband must be extremely careful so that she does not contract the virus a second time, which could put her health even further at risk.

“I just don’t ever want to get Covid again — it’s something that we think about all the time,” she said. “It’s part of my daily life. It’s become a part of who my husband and I are.”

Julie Bosman is the Chicago bureau chief for The Times, writing and reporting stories from around the Midwest. More about Julie Bosman

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Life before COVID-19: how was the World actually performing?

Salvatore f. pileggi.

1 School of Information, Systems and Modelling (ISM), University of Technology Sydney, Sydney, Australia

2 Centre on Persuasive Systems for Wise Adaptive Living (PERSWADE), University of Technology Sydney, Sydney, Australia

The COVID-19 pandemic has suddenly and deeply changed our lives in a way comparable with the most traumatic events in history, such as a World war. With millions of people infected around the World and already thousands of deaths, there is still a great uncertainty on the actual evolution of the crisis, as well as on the possible post-crisis scenarios, which depend on a number of key variables and factors (e.g. a treatment, a vaccine or some kind of immunity). Despite the optimism enforced by the positive results recently achieved to produce a vaccine, uncertainty is probably still somehow the predominant feeling. From a more philosophical perspective, the COVID-19 drama is also a kind of stress-test for our global system and, probably, an opportunity to reconsider some aspects underpinning it, as well as its sustainability. In this article we focus on the pre-crisis situation by combining a number of selected global indicators that are likely to represent measures of different aspects of life. How was the World actually performing? We have defined 6 macro-categories and inferred their relevance from different sources. Results show that economic-oriented priorities correspond to positive performances, while all other distributions point to a negative performance. Additionally, balanced and economy-focused distributions of weights propose an optimistic interpretation of performance regardless of the absolute score.


The unpredictable and overwhelming COVID-19 pandemic has completely and radically changed our lives and lifestyle in a way comparable with the most traumatic events in history, such as a World war. With millions of people infected around the World and already thousands of deaths (Dong et al. 2020 ), there is still a great uncertainty on the actual evolving of the crisis, as well as on the possible post-crisis scenarios, which depend on a number of key variables and factors (e.g. a treatment Felsenstein et al. 2020 , a vaccine Le et al. 2020 or some kind of immunity Weitz et al. 2020 ). Despite the optimism enforced by the positive results recently achieved to produce a vaccine, uncertainty is probably still somehow the predominant feeling (Chater 2020 ).

The whole scientific community is currently committed to face the challenging situation and to provide solutions and mitigation plans as a response to the complex dynamics at different levels. Indeed, the actual impact of COVID-19 on the different aspects of life (e.g. socio-economic Bashir et al. 2020 , environmental Collivignarelli et al. 2020 and psycological Fofana et al. 2020 ) is still not completely clear. Even relatively obvious or largely predictable macro-effects, such as a huge economic recession, present great elements of uncertainty at the moment (Altig et al. 2020 ). Additionally, a large number of studies have been conducted to explore the role of different factors [e.g. temperature Jamil et al. 2020 and air pollution  Fattorini and Regoli ( 2020 )].

From a more philosophical perspective, the COVID-19 drama is also a kind of stress-test for our system and, probably, an opportunity to reconsider some aspects underpinning it, as well as its sustainability (Naidoo and Fisher 2020 ). However, in order to re-design the World and our lives accordingly, we should first of all fully understand them. We definitely recognise the importance of cultural factors, opinions, personal values and beliefs. At the same time, we believe that it would be valuable to understand global performance in a data-driven and relatively systematic way.

In this article we focus on the pre-crisis situation by combining a number of selected global indicators to represent macro-categories that are likely to represent measures of different aspects of life: how was the World actually performing before pandemic?

We believe that answering the previously stated research question by adopting a relatively unbiased and customizable analysis framework can first of all (1) contribute to have a concise understanding of global development evolution and its priorities in the pre-pandemic period; additionally, it should (2) facilitate a better holistic understanding of the post-pandemic scenario; last but not least, (3) a similar approach can be adopted to estimate and analyse more specific aspects (e.g. global or country resilience to pandemic).

Previous work and background This paper is based on the method proposed in Pileggi ( 2020 ) which adopts a Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis (MCDA) philosophy (Ishizaka and Nemery 2013 ; Velasquez and Hester 2013 ). That paper focuses on the method in itself, which is explained in detail and applied to a number of examples using real data. This work is conceptually different and addresses the result, as the method previously defined has been applied to concretely measure global performance from heterogeneous criteria with emphasis on sustainable development (Hopwood et al. 2005 ). The idea of indices in such an area (e.g. Bravo 2014 ; Shaker 2018 ; Barrera-Roldán and Saldıvar-Valdés 2002 ) is a well consolidated concept. Furthermore, many studies explicitely focus on underlying correlations (e.g. Shaker 2018 , 2015 ).

As discussed later on in the paper, the original method has been slightly modified for this concrete application: on one side, the definition of the categories and their relation with numerical indicators has been simplified (see Sect.  3.1 ); on the other side, some extension has been provided in the weighting phase to better model the trade-offs existing among the different aspects considered (see Sect.  4.1 ). Last but not least, the interpretation of computations has been better formalised (see Sect.  5 ).

Structure of the paper This introductory part is followed by a detailed description of the research methodology. Each of the three phases identified in the methodological section is object of one of the core sections which deal, respectively, with the selection of criteria (Sect.  3 ), the weighting of such criteria (Sect.  4 ) and the performance analysis based on the resulting computations (Sect.  5 ). The paper finishes with a typical conclusions and future work section.

Methodology and approach

The methodology adopted in this study is summarised in concept in Fig.  1 . The target system is modelled by selecting a number of categorised indicators, which are global indicators in this study. The model also assumes weights and semantics associated with indicators and it’s the input for the computational method (Pileggi 2020 ). Interpretations are based on both qualitative and quantitative metrics. The three main seamless phases are briefly discussed in this section both with key design decisions, possible biases and uncertainties.

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Method in concept. The target system is modelled by a number of categorised indicators and by the weights and the semantics associated. Such a model is the input for the computational method. Results are analysed by adopting qualitative and quantitative metrics

Criteria selection: macro-categories and representative indicators The normal approach (adopted also in previous work (Pileggi 2020 ) as well as by many reputable studies and publications, such as Our World in Data ) is to group the different indicators in classes which represent, therefore, an abstracted categorization of the considered indicators. It is very useful, especially considering the great availability of data, dependencies and the need to consider multiple aspects together.

In the context of this work, we have defined a number of categories of interest, each one represented by one single indicator that should be chosen to effectively characterise the target category. In terms of model (Fig.  1 ), given M categories and N indicators, we are assuming N = M and cardinality 1:1. Such a simplification allows an easier weighting and modelling within the method adopted (Pileggi 2020 ). We are assuming the definition of categories and the selection of representative indicators as an intrinsic bias, which is referred to as selection bias . Additionally, as the different indicators are expressed by different units and scales which don’t necessarily reflect their relevance in the resulting system or model, we assume a second kind of bias called numerical bias . The latter will be further discussed in Sect.  3.1 .

Weighting Weighting the target categories or indicators is a critical step. Indeed, while indicators themselves may be considered objective measures, their weighting should reflect the different relevance/importance of the various criteria in the context of the considered system or model. Weights may be estimated in different ways. For instance, they may reflect the opinions within a given group or community, normally elicited by surveys or interviews. Alternatively, weights may be inferred by capturing input parameters by the users of tools that adopt the method (Pileggi 2020 ). Either ways, to be relevant, the weighting should be based on a significant number of samples. Moreover, in general, survey/interview defines a static approach as it is based on a concrete selection of indicators. Changing indicators implies the need to re-estimate weights. Such a process is very demanding and definitely it is not agile.

In this study we have adopted a more pragmatic and, at the same time, flexible approach to establish weights that are inferred by analysing reports on global priorities, issues or challenges. Although, due to the different intent and extent of the selected reports, it is not possible to define a systematic method to infer weights, this approach assures weighting according to different foci and perspectives. As proposed later on in the paper, the analysis of different reports leads to weight configurations that may vary very much from each other.

Last but not least, unlike in the original method, in this work we assume finite resource for weighting to better model the trade-offs raising in a limited resource world (see Sect.  4 ).

Computation and analysis The final step is the computation of the results based on the input as defined in the two previous phases. The computational method should support the systematic combination of heterogeneous indicators and associated semantics, measure uncertainty and biases, as well as provide a framework for the interpretation of results. Results based on the application of the original method (Pileggi 2020 ) with the modifications previously explained are discussed in Sect.  5 .

Categories and indicators

The very first logical step of the study assumes the definition of macro-categories and the consequent selection of representative indicators. Such a step is described in the following subsection, while Sect.  3.2 deals with numerical bias and its minimization.

Inspired by Our World in Data , we have defined our own marco-categories (summary in Table  1 ) reflecting different aspects of life as follows:

  • Environment/sustainability Several indicators might represent this macro-category as either global environmental measures (e.g. temperature anomaly or CO2 emissions) or indicators in sub-categories (e.g. energy) potentially express the performance trend. In the context of this work, we consider temperature anomaly (Morice et al. 2012 ; Ritchie and Roser 2017 ) as a representative indicator which we want, evidently, to decrease.
  • Health/demographic change Life expectancy (Temperature 2020 ; Riley 2005 ; Zijdeman and Ribeira da Silva 2005 ; Max Roser and Ritchie 2013 ) has been selected to represent this macro-category. Indeed, an increasing life expectancy reflects, normally, an improved healthcare, as well as it implies population increasing. In terms of wished trend, we want life expectancy to increase, although an higher population may have negative implications in terms of global sustainability.
  • Economy It is represented by the classic GDP per capita (World Development Indicators, Roser 2013b ), as more sophisticated indicators (e.g. Economic Complexity Index Hausmann et al. 2014 ) are normally understood at a country level and might be not very indicative if considered globally. The GDP represents somehow an economical model that assumes never ending growing. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on global economy is expected to be much more consistent than in recent crisis (Kotz 2009 ) and to be comparable with the second World war.
  • Poverty/inequality We consider that the number of people living in extreme poverty (Roser and Ortiz-Ospina 2013 ; Ravallion 2015 ) is the ideal measure to properly integrate economic indicators that express a generic increasing well-being by introducing the concept of inequality. Although we recognise an intrinsic interdependency, we prefer to keep this category separated from the previous one as we want to be able to differentiate ideas and concerns related to the economic growth in itself from the others that explicitly address poverty and inequality.
  • Human rights/freedom By considering democracy as one of the most relevant achievements of all times, we believe that the number of people living in democracy (Roser 2013a ) may be an effective representative for human rights and, more in general, freedom. Indeed, we consider democracy as a condition necessary (although not always sufficient) to create a socio-political environment in which individual freedom and human rights are likely to be fully respected.
  • Violence/instability The selection of a single indicator to express violence and instability in general terms is not easy. Looking at recent happenings, we consider that measures related to terrorism (Ritchie et al. 2013 ) may be a very reasonable choice. From one side, it’s not always easy to understand terrorism and classify terrorist attacks according to the same criteria worldwide. However, a clear definition for terrorism and a number of unanimously recognised principles currently exist (Ritchie et al. 2013 ). Terrorism is normally generated by situations of war or local conflict and it definitely causes uncertainty, violence and instability.

Summary of the criteria considered in this study

Each criterion is understood as a macro-category associated with a representative indicator adopted in computations and with an associated wished trend

All indicators selected are based on objective measures, while others that result from perceptions or opinions (e.g. happiness Frey and Stutzer 2012 ) have not been included.

For the numerical analysis proposed in the paper, we are considering recent years and, more concretely, the time range 2000–2015. Unfortunately, it is not possible to include in the study later years as the indicator measuring people currently living in democracy is available only up to 2015. As per previous explanations, we consider such an indicator as very relevant for the extent and the intent of this research, so we prefer to keep it and reduce the target time range. Additionally, the indicator on people living in extreme poverty is measured at a different granularity of all others, which are available by year. We have indeed adopted approximations considering the available values for the years 2002, 2005, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2015.

In terms of wished trends (Table  1 ), we want the temperature anomaly, people living in poverty and deaths caused by terrorism to decrease, while an increasing trend is wanted for life expectancy, people living in democracy and GDP. The actual trends in the considered time range is shown in Fig.  2 on the left. In the same figure, the contribution to global performance by considering the wished trends (Pileggi 2020 ) is shown on the right. According to this view, positive trends in the chart contributes positively to global performance. Likewise, negative trends have a negative impact on the performance.

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Selected indicators expressed as the percentage of variation with respect to the initial state (left). The contribution of the different indicators to performance as the function of the associated wished trend is reported on the right

Looking at the data reported, health/demographics, economy, poverty/inequality and freedom/human rights are positively performing. On the other side, environment/sustainability and violence/instability present strongly negative performance.

Dealing with numerical bias

At a more theoretical level, the definition of a restricted number of meaningful categories in the extent and intent of the current study can be considered a kind of bias in itself. It’s somehow inherent in study design.

At a practical level, it is almost impossible to provide a numerically balanced set of indicators. Indeed, indicators are normally very heterogeneous, adopts their own units of measure and may present very different numerical variations. In general, the variation of a given indicator is not comparable in terms of relevance with the variation of another indicators. Therefore, numerical proportions are not semantically relevant for the purpose of the considered study, meaning that numerical variations are not necessarily proportional with the relevance in the system or model.

We have represented all indicators uniformly as the percentage variation with respect to the initial state. As shown in Fig.  2 , for the considered set of indicators, the variation of deaths by terrorism is numerically much more relevant than any other. Also the temperature anomaly presents a strong pattern in this sense. However, it is not numerically comparable with the previous. As both indicators contribute potentially in a negative way on global performance, the resulting indicator framework is strongly biased (numerically) in this case and may affect the fairness of the computation.

The numerical differences among the considered indicators imply the need to deal with different scales when computing the different aspects together. In order to minimise numerical biases, we adopt the mechanism described in Pileggi ( 2020 ) in addition to weighting. A detailed description of such an adaptive mechanism is out of the scope of the paper. An example of the numerical bias using and not using the mechanism is reported in Fig.  3 .

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Visualization of numerical bias by considering a linear combination of the different criteria by adopting the reference computational method (Pileggi 2020 ) (left). Such numerical bias can be reduced by applying adaptive tuning as per reference method (Pileggi 2020 ) (right)

Once target criteria are defined, the weighting stage may result extremely subjective. The most natural way to weight criteria is probably by survey, as it is relatively simple to map weights into an opinion-based survey. In such a way, opinions from a generic public as well as opinions within defined communities may be captured and converted in a corresponding set of weights.

However, capturing people’s opinions in a meaningful way requires a large number of samples. Therefore, we have preferred to adopt a completely different and more pragmatic approach that aims to infer weights from the analysis of popular reports (e.g. from United Nations 1 and Global Economic Forum 2 ). On one side, the simplified approach adopted in the selection phase allows to weight categories rather than single indicators. It makes the mapping much easier. On the other side, the interpretation of certain kind of report may be subjective.

In the following subsections, we first describe an extension to the reference method to better model existing trade-offs and, then, we discuss the inference of weight sets from different sources of information.

Finite-resource assumption to model trade-offs

The original method (Pileggi 2020 ) doesn’t assume specific constraints for weights: the different indicators are weighted independently within a minimum value W min and a maximum value W max . Thus, any indicator i is associated with the corresponding weight W min ⩽ w i ⩽ W max , for instance in a range [0,10].

That independent weighting intrinsically assumes an infinite resource model. For instance, it is possible to associate the maximum weight with all indicators ( w i = W max , ∀ i ). It doesn’t force decisions which should model the trade-offs existing among the different aspects of life. In order to model such trade-offs in a more effective way, we introduce a constraint for the overall weighting value, W tot = ∑ i = 1 n w i ≤ n k , where n is the number of considered criteria and k is a value between W min and W max . In the context of this work we are using six different criteria ( n = 6 ) and weighting in the range [1,10] ( 1 ≤ w i ≤ 10 , ∀ i ) rather than [0,10] as we want all criteria to contribute to overall performance. We consider k = 5 , which implies W tot = 30 .

Weighting based on report analysis

In this sub-section we propose different weightings based on the analysis of different sources of information. As previously explained, probably such an inference cannot be completely objective. In order to minimise the impact of interpretations and biases in the analysis, for each case considered, the criteria and conclusions are explained and briefly discussed. Additionally, we have restricted the analysis to sources of information that allow a relative easy mapping. We have excluded those sources that potentially provide very good insight but are objectively hard to be converted in a clear weight set to the target criteria.

A summary of the weights produced by analysing the different reports is proposed in Fig.  4 . Each case is separately analysed and explained in the remaining part of this sub-section.

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Weighting based on the analysis of different sources. Each weights set is compared with an homogeneous distribution of the resources—i.e. Neutral Weighting

Weighting based on the analysis of UN Global Issues The UN Global Issues report proposes 22 different global issues. Each issue in the report can be associated to no-one, one or more than one of the categories identified in this study.

According to our analysis, the category Environment/Sustainability is associated with 5 issues from the report (Atomic Energy, Climate Change, Food, Water), Health/Demography with 5 issues (Africa, Ageing, AIDS, Health, Population), Economy with no issue directly, Poverty/Inequality with 6 issues (Africa, Children, Decolonization, Ending Poverty, Food, Water), Human Rights/Freedom with 6 issues (Africa, Democracy, Gender Equality, Human Rights, International Law and Justice, Refugees) and Violence/Instability with 2 issues (Africa, Peace&Security). Resulting weights are reported in Table  2 . As previously discussed, the minimum weight assumed is 1.

Weighting based on UN Global Issues

Weighting based on the analysis of WEF 10 biggest global challenges (2016) The WEF 10 biggest global challenges [8] is a report with a much more economic focus. The criteria to map the 10 challenges in the report into weights are the same as in the previous case.

From our analysis, Environment/Sustainability is directly related to 2 challenges (Food Security, Climate Change), Health/Demographics to 1 challenge (Healthcare), Economy to 5 challenges (Inclusive Growth, Unemployment, Financial Crisis, Global Trade, Investment Strategy), Poverty/Inequality to 2 challenges (Food Security, Inclusive Growth), Human Rights/Freedom to 1 challenge (Gender Equality) and Violence/Instability to no challenge. The resulting weighing is reported in Table  3 .

Weighting based on WEF—10 biggest global challenges

Weighting based on the analysis of 10 most important global issues from The Borgen Project The Borgen Project, a nonprofit organization that is addressing poverty and hunger, has provided a list of 10 most important global issues [5].

According to our analysis of such a source, Environment/Sustainability is directly associated with 3 of the 10 issues (Climate Change, Pollution), Health/Demographics with 4 (Pollution, Security and Wellbeing, Malnourishment and Hunger, Substance Abuse), Economy with 1 (Unemployment), Poverty/Inequality with 3 (Lack of Education, Malnourishment and Hunger, Security and Wellbeing), Human Rights/Freedom with 1 (Government Corruption) and Violence/Instability with 3 (Violence, Security and Wellbeing, Terrorism). The resulting weights are reported in Table  4 .

Weighting based on The Borgen Project—Top 10 most important current Global Issues

Weighting based on the analysis of Global Shapers Survey 2017 Global Shapers Survey 2017 by WEF reflects opinion of millennials. Business Insider Australia has recently provided a list of the 10 most critical problems in the World according to millennials based on the Global Shapers Survey. In order to assure uniformity and consistency with previous cases, we have considered the list of problems provided but not the relevance associated with each of them.

According to our analysis, Environment/Sustainability matches with 2 problems (Food and water security, Climate change/Destruction of nature), Health/Demographics with 1 (Safety/Security/Wellbeing), Economy with 1 (Lack of economic opportunity and unemployment), Poverty/Inequality with 4 (Lack of education, Food and water security, Poverty, Inequality), Human Rights/Freedom with 1 (Government accountability and transparency/Corruption) and Violence/Instability with 3 (Safety/Security/Wellbeing, Religious conflicts, Large scale conflict/Wars ). Weights are reported in Table  5 .

Weighting based on Global Shapers Survey 2017 and its analysis

Performance analysis

Performance analysis is based on two main metrics as follows:

  • Score This is the primary metric for analysis and it is based uniquely on the absolute performance according to computations (Pileggi 2020 ): positive scores are associated with positive performance, as well as negative scores correspond to negative performance.
  • Interpretation It is a relative metric defined by comparing the score of a given computation with the corresponding neutral computation, which assumes fair weighting (Pileggi 2020 ). In qualitative terms, scores higher than neutral computation correspond to an optimistic interpretation, while lower scores are associated with a pessimistic interpretation.

The two metrics as defined are completely independent as all qualitative combinations of the two metrics (positive/optimistic, positive/pessimistic, negative/optimistic and negative/pessimistic) are possible.

Looking at the analysis framework more holistically, two additional analysis factors may be considered:

  • Uncertainty In the context of this study, rather than a proper uncertainty, such a metric defines higher and lower bounds based on the potential weighting variance. Such an estimation provides a more consistent support for analysis in context.
  • Numerical bias Even though it is limited by the method adopted, numerical bias directly affects the absolute result. It is expressed by the neutral computation and can play a relevant role not only in the analysis phase but also when selecting criteria, as it can drive the selection of balanced set of indicators.

Computations for the different weight sets are presented in Fig.  5 , while a qualitative summary of results is presented in Table  6 .

Summary of results (qualitative)

For each computation, the qualitative score—i.e. POSITIVE/NEGATIVE —and the qualitative interpretation—i.e. OPTIMISTIC/PESSIMISTIC —is reported

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Computations based on the different weight sets. On the left, computed results assuming a given weights set are compared with the corresponding assuming homogeneous weighting ( Neutral Weighting ). On the right, results are considered looking at the extreme possible computations

Looking at Fig.  5 , the score associated with the different weight sets is represented by the blue line. Such a score is compared with the corresponding neutral computations in the charts on the left, while it is represented both with extreme computations in the charts on the right.

Weights from the analysis of UN Global Issues propose a relatively balanced distribution with a priority on Poverty/Inequality, Human Rights/Freedom, Health/Demographics and Environment/Sustainability. Additionally, there is a relative low priority for Violence/Instability and no economical focus. The resulting computation shows contrasting results, including a negative performance but also an optimistic interpretation. The weight set resulting from the analysis of the 10 biggest global challenges by WEF presents a much more economic oriented focus with a significant attention also for Environment/Sustainability and Poverty/Inequality. Human Rights/Freedom is still considered a kind of priority, while there is no explicit attention for Violence/Instability. Such a distribution of weights result in a very positive understanding of global performance. By focusing explicitly on addressing poverty, the weights from The Borgen Project proposes an interesting case study. The priority is clearly on 3 criteria, Health/Demographics, Poverty/Inequality and Violence/Instability. The computations associated show a clear negative trend in terms of either performance and interpretation (pessimistic). The analysis based on opinions of Millennials proposes a much more radical distribution with a clear priority on Poverty/Inequality and a significant attention on Environment/Sustainability and Violence/Instability. Final results are very similar to the ones related to the previous case (negative/pessimistic).

Average weights are reported in the last chart in Fig.  4 . As shown, the different case studies considered seem to balance each other. The average case proposes however a priority on Poverty/Inequality. Computations for the average case point out negative performance and optimistic interpretation (Fig. ​ (Fig.6 6 ).

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Object name is 11135_2020_1091_Fig6_HTML.jpg

Computation based on average weights. On the left, the computed result adopting average weighs is compared with the corresponding assuming homogeneous weighting ( Neutral Weighting ). On the right, that same result is considered looking at the extreme possible computations

As expected, the priorities defined by the different weight sets play a key role in the final assessment of performance from a quantitative perspective. However, as shown, it’s the contextual interpretation of such metrics that is considered the final assessment. We believe that the research framework proposed can be simple and effective to assess holistically the post-pandemic scenario, as well as to properly assess and reflect mindset and priorities changes behind the numerical estimations or measures.

Looking at possible interpretations of the results, we would like to remark that the method adopted works in terms of dynamic trend rather than of static snapshot, according to a philosophy of continuous evolution of the World. Such an approach is reflected in the computation of metrics. Therefore, a positive score in a given time-frame should be understood like the World is becoming a better place rather than the World is a good place (Pileggi 2020 ).

Conclusions and future work

By adopting a MCDA-based method, we considered 6 different macro-categories to measure global performance. The method provides a relatively fair analysis framework which allows the systematic combination of heterogeneous criteria. The weights associated with the different criteria play a key role in terms of final result. We have adopted a model that assumes finite resource in order to empathize the trade-offs existing among the different aspects considered.

In order to assess global performance and, more in general, global development trends, we have considered four different case studies with a very different focus. Results show that economic-oriented priorities correspond to positive performances, while all other distributions point to a negative performance. Additionally, balanced and economy-focused distributions of weights propose an optimistic interpretation of performance regardless of the absolute score.

Future work is expected to be developed in different directions. In line with the current focus, we will aim more fine grained studies at a country level. We will explore further secondary data sources to infer priorities accordingly (e.g. World Values Survey — ). We will also propose and analyse in context additional case studies with a more community-oriented focus to be established by survey (e.g. Danowski and Park 2020 ).

The results obtained contribute to provide a concise understanding in context of the global development evolution and its underpinning priorities in the pre-pandemic period. We believe that such a dynamic snapshot can be useful to facilitate a better holistic understanding of the post-pandemic scenario that will be object of our future research. Indeed, we expect a significant mindset change triggered by the pandemic that will probably have an impact in setting priorities for a sustainable development. Last but not least, we will adopt a similar approach to estimate and analyse more specific aspects (e.g. global or country resilience to pandemic).


Our most sincere gratitude to the anonymous reviewers who provided extensive and constructive feedback. The comments received were very valuable to produce a significantly improved version of the paper.

1 United Nations— .

2 World Economic Forum— .

Publisher's Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

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