The repercussions of COVID-19 pandemic on young people’s lives #6 / Samukeliso Angela Ngwenya

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2. Effects of COVID-19 in young people’s lives

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease that is caused by a newly discovered coronavirus. This disease affects the human respiratory system and spreads primarily through saliva droplets or discharge from the nose when an infected person coughs or sneezes respectively without covering both the moth or nose. COVID-19 has drastically killed over two-hundred thousand people worldwide which in turn has caused a global shutdown, whereby people are legally forced to stay indoors so as to prevent the spread of this disease. This essay serves to elucidate how young people have been affected during this period of COVID-19.

As A.P.J Abdul Kalam who was an aerospace scientist who served as the eleventh President of India from 2002 to 2007 once said, “My message to, especially young people is to have courage to think differently, courage to invent, to travel the unexplored path, courage to discover the impossible and to conquer the problems and succeed. These are great qualities that they must work towards. This is my message to young people”, it shows that young people are mostly viewed as being extroverted. However due to the COVID-19 pandemic young people are now compelled to stay indoors and this in turn is affecting them as they are failing to undertake their day to day activities.

If we take a look at both the high school and college students we realise how this situation has dreadfully affected them as schools have been closed due to the COVID-19 outbreak. At the moment the only solution that may be carried out to ensure that students proceed with their studies is online learning which China has begun to implement. Below is a picture showing online learning in China.

This solution may be abortive as some countries may have challenges implementing it as it is an expensive method. Let’s bring it close to home, Zimbabwe is a developing country, and it being a developing country it may find it difficult to implement online learning. Most of the students will have challenges accessing internet services from their homes due to it being expensive, hence failure to learn adequately will sway their examination preparations. 

Before the COVID-19 dilemma most of the young people were working and some of them had jobs that required them to travel time and again. If we look at young people in the entertainment sector such as musicians, they have lost a vast amount of money during this COVID-19 period due to them failing to hold concerts. Other young people such as vendors are now unable to earn a living for themselves since they have also been forced out of the streets by soldiers and police who have been given an order by the government. Failure to follow these strict orders given by the law enforcement results in legal punishment. In due course countries will encounter an increase in theft because some of the young people will be failing to make a buck, hence this will resolute to them stealing in order to survive.

COVID-19 pandemic has also started affecting the young people’s physical wellness and mental wellbeing. Due to being locked down it is now impossible for young people to go to the gym for their daily exercises so as to keep fit. Failure to improvise by doing exercises at home will eventually lead to them gaining weight and becoming obese, in turn causing various diseases such as heart disease. Social distancing has also led to the ban of gatherings such as parties which many young people like to attend so as to enjoy themselves with friends and this in turn helping them to relieve stress and keep their state of mind in check. Lack of socialising be it with friends, relatives or companions will lead to depression and anxiety during this period as one will be unable to share his or her burdens with someone and this will affect the young person’s mental health, especially if they are living alone during this COVID-19 lockdown period and have no one to console them or are living with abusive parents or guardians.

However, they are positive effects that have come with the COVID-19 pandemic. For instance, before the pandemic many deaths that were transpiring most of them were of young people. These deaths were mostly caused by drunk driving accidents, Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) due to young people having multiple sex partners and abuse of drugs and alcohol. Due to the worldwide shutdown the young people are unable to attend parties where they acted irresponsibly. This might seem as a bummer to them but it has prevented the deaths of some.

This pandemic period has been colossally burdensome for some young people but others have managed to stay optimistic and have used this period to learn more about themselves, discover their likes and dislikes and understand their family members on a deeper scale. Other young people who are visionary and able to think outside the box have managed to seize this opportunity and practise online businesses such as Forex Trading, Blogging, Affiliate Marketing among others so as to continue earning a living for themselves.

Despite COVID-19 having unpleasantly affected young people’s lives to a greater extent, young people should take this period to be a learning curb for them and carry out activities that are productive whilst following orders and staying at their homes.

Essay by Samukeliso Angela Ngwenya

Part 2.1 Accounting Student at the National University of Science and Technology (NUST)

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