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Youth predict that post-covid, people will both need and fear each other

Parnian Shahsavary/YJI

Life will be different – with a new way of thinking and doing things – when the pandemic is over, said young people around the globe.

“Even when the virus is gone, we will still feel it,” said Sevgi Eda Keskin, 18, of Istanbul, because while the effects of the physical illness are gone, the psychological impact will remain.

Interpersonal relationships will not be the same, said Keskin, who predicted that social situations will be awkward. People may not want to use public transportation, she said.

We will need to hug people, but we will hesitate, Keskin said, and we will wince when someone coughs.

Samir Kowcun, 19, who studies at the University of Leeds in England, said that gratitude for healthcare workers – like the clapping during the pandemic – should translate to better working conditions and wages in the future.

Even when the virus is gone, we will still feel it.

Sevgi Eda Keskin

Keskin said there may be more respect for medical technology after the pandemic, taking disease and health more seriously.

Tahsina Nawar Adrita/YJI

The days of the pandemic are not easy ones, but life is not just good days, according to 22-year-old Muhammad Tariq, who is studying in Nicosia, Cyprus. 

Tariq said if we don’t have bad days, we won’t appreciate the good ones. This time is difficult, but it will pass, he said.

Muhammad Tariq

As people grapple with the pandemic, 20-year-old Kanchi Baldwa of Madhya Pradesh, India said it is important to spread positivity and hope.

Two students at the Symbiosis Centre for Media and Communication in Pune, India expressed a wish that people will show more empathy and less judgment in the post-pandemic future.

Rhythm Josi, 19, of Pune Maharashtra, India, said people may need counseling, no-contact delivery of medicine and time to recover. 

Siddhi Shah, 19, of Mumbai, India, said people should help each other in every possible situation.

Jomel Goh, an 18-year-old student at the School of the Arts in Singapore, said the pandemic has her thinking more about the bigger picture. Goh said she’s questioning power structures and the current political system. 

Though she’s thinking about both local and global issues, Goh said that she has more sympathy for the problems in Singapore because they are close to her.

The pandemic might end up positively impacting nature, Keskin said. Since people were essentially locked in their homes in Istanbul, there was less traffic. After the pandemic, she said, there might be more flowers and perhaps fewer of the city’s stray cats would have been killed by cars since the roads were empty.

People might notice those improvements, Keskin suggested, and do better, but even if not, at least nature had a couple of months to recover.

Some youth are hopeful that a post-pandemic Earth might be cleaner. (Daisy Wigg/YJI)

Vedat Burak Sanel, 17, also of Istanbul, is not optimistic about people changing enough to make a difference in the environment.

Sanel, who is in eleventh grade, said people forget too easily and will return to their old capitalist ways of not caring. He pointed to the Great Depression as an example. 

He predicted that the next generation of children will suffer for it.

This story was reported by Salma Amrou in Suffolk, Virginia; Mariama Barry in Coastal Road, The Gambia; Aileen Cevallos in Quito, Ecuador; Nisha Chandar-Nair in Lincoln, England; Alyce Collett in Melbourne, Australia; Rosie Evans in Liverpool, England; Bilge Nur Güven in Istanbul; Holly Hostettler-Davies in Bridgend, Wales; Chuying Huo in Ontario, Canada; Erin Kim in Andover, Massachusetts; Manar Lezaar in Fez, Morocco; Katrina Machetta in Spring, Texas; Lyat Melese in Alexandria, Virginia; Nivetha Nandakumar in Cardiff, Wales; Purnima Priyadarsini in Bhubaneswar, India;  Aimee Shah in London; Parnian Shahsavary in Tehran, Iran; Lucy Tobier in Ann Arbor, Michigan and Daisy Wigg in Dartford, England.  Daisy Wigg made the photo and Tahsina Nawar Adrita made the drawing about cleaning. The cover illustration is by Parnian Shahsavary.

Covid Mood is a global project by Youth Journalism International examining how the coronavirus pandemic of 2020 impacted mental health among the world’s young people. Its 17 news stories and accompanying photos and illustrations are by 21 students from a dozen nations on six continents. Together, they interviewed 56 teenagers and young adults in 18 countries and mental health professionals from five different nations. All Covid Mood stories are accessible here.

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