The New Normal

Leah Sarah Peer, Medical Student

Saint James School of Medicine

Everyone everywhere has been impacted by COVID19. It is the era of the “New Normal”.

Hugs, handshakes and kisses once a symbol of love and affection are now dangerous. Smiles on our faces have become difficult to spot as masks, a wardrobe staple have become an everyday accessory necessity. As fear continues to loom in our minds of the possibility of a world free of touch, and as a tsunami of grief grows in our hearts of increased deaths worldwide, this unprecedented event of human history has caused a lot of human life to be redefined.

The lockdowns, quarantining and social distancing synonymous with the “New Normal”, have also been the impetus of reflection and the spark of creativity. Instead of complete isolation, there has been a boom of connection and although this sacrifice has paralyzed humans figuratively from the waist down on social platforms like zoom, it has provided humans far and near with a platform to remain strong, and united virtually.

Watching global economies being destroyed, healthcare systems collapsing, of increased marginalization and discrimination of vulnerable populations, highlighted are the various inequities and injustices present in our societies. Yet, plagued by the problems of the pre-COVID19 era, it urges us to question our priorities; Will we still care about discrimination, racism, stereotyping and maliciously hurt others in the post-COVID19 era? Will we have time to worry about the insignificant, when our focus has become the survival of our human species?

The virus has done a stellar job in demonstrating the interconnected nature of cities across continents, that piercing our lives together during these tumultuous times is far from easy. These moments place opportunities for citizens to step up and are profoundly shaping students’ lives as future professionals. Our contributions to help others during the pandemic is something we will have to live with morally – asking whether staying at home for the safety of others selflessly if not for themselves is something we participated in? Will people partake in initiatives supplying #PPE, volunteer at food banks and help the homeless off the streets? Every action and contribution is beneficial as global cooperation, collaboration and partnerships result in far deeper impacts reaching communities in various regions of the world.

The virus has silenced the streets of countries, enclosed humans indoors and locked them inside with uncertainty and misery, and while it may possibly be the worst pandemic of our lives’; it may not be the only one and therefore learning to navigate the dangerous waters of a future apocalyptic crisis as physicians-to be is crucial.

In order to move past this “New Normal”, it is imperative that our souls spread light, joy, and act as the cure for mayhem blighting the lives of millions. However, despite the era of human life, the “new normal” or not, changing the plight of people and serving humanity is every clinician’s duty.  Striving to achieve medical progress during the pandemic in the race for a vaccine is one that shall continue, in order to make this “New Normal”, a time of the past.

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