The impact and Unforeseen Challenges of the Novel Virus.

What are the lessons to be learnt?

The unforeseen challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has taken a significant impact globally. We have seen that countries throughout the globe have implemented strategies to manage and address COVID-19 to ease human needs.

In early February 2020 we saw the start of panic buying and the scarcity of essential items in our supermarkets.  This also highlighted the psychological impact of humans through their aggressive behaviour as they tried to ensure that the physiological needs for their families and households would be met by accumulating food supplies for an unknown period of isolation.  Whilst this behaviour occurred in Australia, we later learnt of such occurrences internationally.

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs – Physiological needs

The physiological needs are the lowest category and the most basic needs that are vital to survival, such as the need for water, air, food, and sleep. Maslow believed that these needs are the most instinctive needs because all needs become secondary until these needs are met.

In addition to the basic requirements of nutrition, air and temperature regulation, the physiological needs also include such things as shelter and clothing.

Restrictions, lockdowns, stay at home and isolation

When restriction such as gatherings of specific numbers of people were imposed; the country soon experienced job losses and further more when borders were closed and flights in and out of the country were halted these numbers increased.  These restrictions were prompted by the people returning from overseas and identified with the viral infection.  Worse was to come with the Ruby Princess which has been linked to more than 20 deaths and more than 600 coronavirus cases.

As workers were laid off their financial security was compromised and led to long queues of masked unemployed workers attempting to physical distance as they waited to register for dole support at the Centrelink offices country wide.

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs – Security and Safety

The second level of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, is the needs for security and safety.

People want control and order in their lives. So, this need for safety and security contributes largely to behaviours at this level. Some of the basic needs include:

  • Financial security
  • Health and wellness
  • Safety against accidents and injury

Their actions are motivated by the security and safety needs.

Together, the safety and physiological levels of the hierarchy make up what is often referred to as the basic needs.  Here we saw how those who lost their jobs were trying to ensure that they financial needs were taken care of; they had to protect themselves from infections of COVID 19.

Timely Responses and Actions

Globally, there were differing responses and response timelines as this was a novel virus and there were unknowns on how far the virus had spread, which meant countries were and are on different levels of controlling the outbreaks. Some authorities have been accused of failing to take the situation seriously and act earlier, when more could have been done to slow down the spread of the coronavirus.

These restrictive measures were to contain the spread of the pandemic at a local level and ensure that healthcare would be sufficiently resourced to manage a reasonable number of patients who contract the virus. In some instances this has been achieved.

Maslow’s hierarchy of needsSocial Needs

Since the stay at home and isolation in about Mid- February 2020, the curve has plateau and, in some cases, come down with few cases, so many countries that had taken stringent measures to slow down the spread of COVID-19 are now considering easing the restrictions incrementally.

Some feel this is premature, whilst others feel that authorities have concerns on Mental Health and Boredom which can lead to unacceptable behaviour problems.

The Maslow’s hierarchy social needs include such things as love, acceptance, and belonging. At this level, the need for emotional relationships drives human behaviour. Some of the things that satisfy this need include:

  • Friendships
  • Romantic attachments
  • Family
  • Social groups
  • Community groups
  • Churches and religious organizations

In order to avoid problems such as loneliness, depression, and anxiety, it is important for people to feel loved and accepted by other people. Personal relationships with friends, family, and lovers play an important role, as does involvement in other groups that might include religious groups, sports teams, book clubs, and other group activities.

During the stay at home and isolation, (in some countries lockdowns) we have been deprived of the social needs and have had instances where family have been forthright with their needs to see their parent particularly in nursing home.

Here is a link to the editorial I wrote on the human reactions of panic buying.

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