The Digital World and COVID-19

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The Digital World and COVID-19

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The pandemic caught us all by surprise. At the end of the year 2019, a global event started that none of us were prepared to confront. A new, unknown virus was killing people all over the world, and it was making its way to the United States.

As we prepared in whatever way we could, with what we knew at the time, the world started to shut down. Local mandates were advising us all to stay at home and to only leave if we needed to get necessities. With this, we all had to rely on technology to stay connected and to know what was happening in the outside world.

We were all connecting through various platforms to work from home, attend classes, or simply to talk to our loved ones. The comfort of doing everything from home turned into a personal prison for many that were not used to being isolated. As the days turned into weeks, and the weeks turned into months, people were anxious and desperate for a sense of normalcy. With technology, we also got information and found resources that would help us navigate through this pandemic, and at the same time, we received misinformation that would eventually turn deadly for many.

There was a huge focus by certain political parties to diminish the severity of the virus. In the United States, the conservative population (lead by former President Trump) believed that the virus was not dangerous, and they kept comparing it to a common flu. This conservative population was asking the rest of the population to not believe what the media was informing at the time. This created different perspectives linked to conspiracy theories that spread quickly through different social media platforms. For example: like COVID-19 being a production of the government to control the population, or simply that the virus did not exist at all. At this point, there was a huge part of the population that did not trust the guidance provided by local health authorities. There was information regarding a vaccine that could minimize the damage caused by the virus, and this was great news! Unfortunately, the vaccine encountered the same type of resistance that the previous prevention guidelines encountered. People did not believe in the effectiveness of the vaccine, and again, theories regarding the development of the vaccine started making their way through the internet. For example, some people believe that the vaccine is a chip implanted in our bodies so that the government can track us.

In times of uncertainty, those who practice religion tend to turn to religion for comfort and guidance. In some cases, certain religious groups were advising their congregations to put all their trust in God, and that he would protect them from the virus, without the need of a vaccine.
The clash of religion and science made it more difficult for the population to come out victorious from a very challenging time. More than 2 years later, and we are still seeing the effects of the pandemic in society. There is an emotional divide that lingers in our communities, not just a physical distance. Communities want to have their normal lives back but fail to realize that these are their normal lives now.

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This item was submitted on April 26, 2022 by Israel Plascencia using the form “Share Your Story” on the site “A Journal of the Plague Year”:

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