In January 2020 the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the outbreak of a new coronavirus disease, COVID-19, to be a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. WHO stated that there is a high risk of COVID-19 spreading to other countries around the world. In March 2020, WHO made the assessment that COVID-19 can be characterized as a pandemic. WHO and public health authorities around the world are acting to contain the COVID-19 outbreak. However, this time of crisis is generating stress throughout the population.
Stress or trauma is generated when an event is unexpected, lasts a long time, causes many deaths, its cause is unknown, it is poignant or meaningful or impacts a large area Contagious; all of which are inclusive to the new coronavirus, COVID-19. Moreover, Other stressors include Incomplete knowledge about COVID-19 and conflicting opinions as well as perceived mismatch of governmental action and public expectations. Insufficient supplies (personal protective equipment, ventilators, hospital beds) along with possible high levels of contagion, illness have led to high levels of stress. Moreover, up to this day, no vaccine or treatment have yet been approved. Elderly and those with pre-existing health issues are more at risk for severe illness and/or death which increases stress in this category.
The following are 4 Potential Psychosocial Consequences of COVID-19 :
Out of the 4 above consequences, Resilience is the key solution. Physically, it means the ability of a substance or object to spring back into shape. However, psychologically it is the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties and this is exactly what we want to achieve in order to cope with the stress accompanied with this pandemic.
In the next article, we will discuss the possible economic, social and psychological impacts of COVID-19 along with the strategies of building resilience.
About the Author:
Dr. Ahmed Adel Abd Elgawad ,M.D.
Head of Psychosocial Department
Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
57357 Children’ Cancer Hospital Foundation, Cairo Egypt